It was a night just like any other. Shepherds were watching their sheep out on the hills near Bethlehem when suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the radiance of God’s glory surrounded them!
The shepherds were terrified by the angel’s presence.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said.” Luke 2:10
The angel of the Lord understood their fear, but told them that they had nothing to be afraid of.
The appearance of the angel and the light of God’s glory that shone all around them caused great fear to come upon them. But that fear of God’s holy presence caused them to know this was no ordinary person with an ordinary message.
God is to be feared, but not to be afraid of!
Holy fear of the Lord gets your attention!
To fear the Lord is to listen to Him!
The shepherds didn’t need to be afraid because God’s messages are always intended for your good…
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
The shepherds lived in a time of great spiritual darkness. Many people no longer worshipped the One true God, but instead chose to worship man-made idols. They no longer lived in obedience to God’s commands, but lived according to their own fleshly desires. They no longer lived in the light of God’s presence and blessings, but in the darkness and emptiness of their own sinful ways.
Into this dark time of bad news and consequences of sin…
The light of God’s glory shone around them!
The angel of the Lord brought them Good News!
Good News that would bring Great Joy to all people!
“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12
This is the Good News we celebrate at Christmas!
This is the Great Joy that is for all people!
The Savior has been born!
Jesus, born to save us from our sins.
Our sin brings darkness into our lives. It deceives and blinds us so that we live in the darkness of selfishness and fleshly desires.
Our sin brings bad news into our lives. It convinces us to do things our way, but then we reap the consequences.
Our sin leads to much sorrow, sadness, and depression. It causes us to focus on self and self is never satisfied.
We need an answer to all the darkness in our lives.
We need an answer to all the bad news in our lives.
We need an answer to all the sorrow, sadness, and depression in our lives.
We need to be saved from ourselves!
“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Christmas is the celebration of our Savior!
Celebrating the Light that dispels all darkness!
Celebrating the Good News that changes all bad news!
Celebrating the Great Joy that replaces all sadness!
When the angel had spoken to the shepherds, he was joined by thousands of other angels all praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14
When the angels left the shepherds had a choice to make. They could have chosen to ignore the angel’s message. They could have decided it was too much work to walk all the way into Bethlehem. They could have thought they shouldn’t leave their sheep just to see a baby in a manger. But, no, the holy fear of the Lord caused them to believe what the angel said to them. They chose to leave their sheep and hurried off to Bethlehem. There they found the babe in the manger and were astonished that it was just as the angel had told them. They returned to their flocks praising and glorifying God for all they had heard and seen.
The world is still as it was when Jesus was born, spiritually dark, filled with bad news, and overwhelmed with sadness and depression.
And Jesus is still “born to save the people from their sins.”
If this Christmas finds you in a dark place, facing bad news, or feeling sad and depressed, I pray you will ponder the message the angel brought to the shepherds. The message filled with love, peace, and hope right from the throne of God. For this is the time to go and find the Savior, the Good News, that will bring you Great Joy! For when you find Him you will believe and will break out in praise to God!