And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:8-14)
The Christmas story is all about the Good News the angel announced to the shepherds— that Christ the Lord was born. The entire scene portrays the reason why the news of his birth can be called “good tidings of great joy.” Consider the following points:
It calms our fears. When the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to the shepherds and the brightness of glory shined brightly in the night sky, they were scared out of their wits. Who wouldn’t be? Immediately, the angel provided the comforting words, “Fear not!”
Fear is a human trait we are all familiar with. Fear can cause us to react in ways that produce negative results. It’s said, “Fear is the dark room where the devil takes you to develop your negatives.” Thankfully, the Good News of Christ has a way of turning our negatives into positives. Once the shepherds learned of the momentous event of Christ’s birth, they forgot their fears and were filled with amazement and joy.
It is for all people. The Good News of Christ is not just for a certain race or age or sex or culture or nation. It originated with the Jewish community but is extended to all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile,” (Romans 1:16, New International Version, NIV).
It is about prophetic fulfillment. The birth of Christ provided the moment of moments, the most significant event in the history of mankind since Adam was created (1 Corinthians 15:45). Christ was born to undo what Adam did. Adam brought the curse of sin into the world; Jesus will remove the curse of sin from the world. The first advent of Jesus paved the way for him to fulfill all of prophecy that foretells the Age to Come when there will be no more sorrow, pain, and death. What could give us greater joy than to see the day when Jesus returns to fulfill all of God’s promises? Without his first coming we could not look forward to his second coming.
It centers upon the one and only Savior and Lord of the world. There are lot of religions in the world, with their own gods and prophets. But there’s only one Savior, for there is no other name under heaven in whom we are saved: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12).
It is a miraculous sign proving his Sonship. Our Savior was Heaven-sent. He was born of the virgin Mary who was overshadowed by God’s Holy Spirit. It was no ordinary birth. He saved us by dying on the cross for our sins. He is coming again to give believers eternal life. He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. The sign of the Babe in Bethlehem continues to give us the expectant joy of salvation to come.
It provides heavenly praise. Can you imagine the chills tingling down the spines of the shepherds and the thrills they must have felt upon seeing and hearing the multitudes of angels praising God in the night sky? What any of us wouldn’t give to be able to be there at that glorious time! And yet, what greater chills and thrills there will be when Jesus returns to earth, and yet this time we can all be there when it takes place. The wonderment that took place when the angelic praises were heard that night pales at the wonderment that will take place when the Lord returns in great power and glory (Revelation 5:10-13).
It promises “peace on earth, good will toward men.” These were the words of praise by the multitude of angels the night Jesus’ birth was announced to the shepherds. And for good reason: Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6-7). He was not only born to give us personal peace (John 14:27), but to bring peace to all the nations when he comes back home to earth (Isa. 2:4).
As we reflect upon the Christmas holiday, try to imagine the overwhelming joy that the shepherds felt the time the angels appeared to them when tending their flocks that holy night. It’s the kind of joy all of us can feel knowing what the birth of Christ our Savior and Lord means to each one of us. For the Good News of his birth certainly gives us reason to offer our praises to God in the Highest just as the angels proclaimed long ago.
Have a blessed and merry Christmas!
And Good News to You!