Let’s be real. As we look at the state of our world today, we could conclude that we have little reason for celebrating as a steady flow of bad news seems to keep coming our way — all the political divisiveness, natural disasters, crime, war, terrorism, and more. However, the message the angel brought to the shepherds long ago brings us to a different conclusion that holds true for us today.
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. (Lk. 2:10-11)
Imagine being the shepherds out in the fields in the dark of night when suddenly an angel appeared “and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Lk. 2:9). If the angel had appeared during the light of day, the glory of the Lord would still have shone but probably would not have seemed as brilliant as it did piercing through the darkness. God got their attention.
- Today, God wants to break through the darkness of our world with that same message — “a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk. 2:11).
A Message with a Reason for Celebrating
The angel prefaced his message by saying, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Lk. 2:10). Notice the adjectives in this statement. The angel didn’t just bring them news but rather GOOD news. And, what he was about to announce would not just produce some joy but rather GREAT joy. Also, it wouldn’t affect just them or a handful of people but ALL the people. There’s hope … a reason to celebrate.
- But, what could be so special or spectacular to produce that kind of impact? — A birth? Yes, but this wasn’t an ordinary baby.
It’s Who Came that Gives Us a Reason to Celebrate
We don’t merely celebrate a baby who came to earth. This child, who grew up and eventually died on the cross —
- We must get beyond the story of Christmas to the Person of Christmas to recognize how GOOD this news is and to experience that GREAT joy.
A Reaction that Culminates in Celebration at Christmas and Always
After hearing the angel’s message, the shepherds said, “Let’s go … and see” (Lk. 2:15).
Scripture doesn’t record what they did while they visited Jesus. Maybe they sought to learn more about Him. Perhaps they worshiped. It’s hard to imagine they didn’t celebrate in some way while there in the presence of the One proclaimed to be their Savior, the Messiah and Lord.
Once they had seen Him, “they spread the word” (Lk. 2:17).
It’s important to note that they didn’t just spread the word about their experience, but rather “what had been told them about this child” (Lk. 2:17). “WHO” mattered more than “what” as the Source of good news and great joy came in a Person, not because of the right circumstances or through a set of precepts.
And, they celebrated.
With an experience rooted in truth, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Lk. 2:20). This wasn’t merely a story to revisit once a year. It was more than a babe in the manager that engendered such a celebration. They had seen the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord! (Upcoming posts will look at each of these descriptions of Jesus, giving us plenty of cause to celebrate over the Christmas season and always. — You can subscribe to be notified of new posts.)