Some 2,000 years ago, just outside a small town in Israel called Bethlehem, a few poor shepherds were terrified one night by the appearance of an angel. After telling them not to be afraid (angels usually instill fear in those who see them!), the angel made an announcement that summarized the meaning of Christmas.
I love the words the angel spoke. They were simple and succinct and a great example for newscasters! The angel declared, “I bring you good news of great joy that is for all people. Today a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah who is the Lord.” To verify the announcement, the angel then told the shepherds they could find the baby in a stable.
What the angel was announcing to the shepherds was that the Savor of the world had arrived. No wonder he said it’s, “good news of great joy that is for all people.” God Himself was providing an answer for the mess and disorder in the world in sending His perfect Son to save whoever will put their trust in Him.
Jesus (the name means ‘Savior’), came to show the world what God is like and to be our substitute. He did this by taking our rebellion and sin on Himself and the punishment of a righteous God that goes with it. This happened when, 33 years after his birth, Jesus was beaten and suffered the most excruciating death on a cross on our behalf. The grotesqueness of Jesus’ death reflected how awful our rebellion and sin really is against a loving and holy God.
The angelic visitation to the shepherds continued when a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” At last, there could be peace and reconciliation between God and man.
Through Jesus, the Savior, who also overcame death for us and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven, men, women and children can be restored into relationship with God both now and through eternity. As Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” This is good news of great joy!!