And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11
We’re almost afraid to listen to the news. Whether its source is from our local television station, newspaper or the Internet, it always seems to be the same — bad. Senseless violence and crime in our community, wild fires in California, troubles in the global economy— it never seems to end. And, when we do hear a bit of good news, we almost don’t know how to respond.
Imagine being those shepherds in the fields on the night of our Savior’s birth. One moment you’re watching your sheep in the middle of an ordinary night, your eyes heavy with sleep, and the next moment the skies explode with God’s glory and a supernatural being, an angel of the Lord, speaks to you in a way you never imagined. You can understand why they were terrified. You can understand why they were expecting the worst.
But just as quickly their fears fade away. This angel shares good news with them. A great joy will come to all people, even lowly shepherds. A Savior has been born for them in David’s city Bethlehem. This little child will be their righteousness. He will be their sacrifice for their sins upon a cross. He will shatter the bonds of death on Easter morning. And, he will do it for them because God is love.
God has good news for us, and he communicates it to us in a simple, profound way. At the right moment, at the right place, Mary gave birth to a son in Bethlehem. She wrapped him in baby clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. God became flesh. A Savior is born. Salvation made certain. Promises kept. No theological clutter or meaningless jargon, just God’s love for sinners — plain and simple.
This Christmas and beyond keep this news of great joy close to your heart. Let God communicate to you — in a simple way — the wonders of his love in the Christ Child. And let us respond to our God — in a simple way —with hearts rejoicing, voices praising, and lives eager to serve.
Rejoicing with you in God’s good news,