There were some shepherds living in the same part of the country, keeping guard throughout the night over their flocks in the open fields. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by their side, the splendour of the Lord blazed around them, and they were terror-stricken. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen, I bring you glorious news of great joy which is for all the people. This very day, in David’s town, a Saviour has been born for you. He is Christ, the Lord. Let this prove it to you: you will find a baby, wrapped up and lying in a manger.” -Luke 2:8-12
This passage from Luke 2 is probably the most common of scriptures associated with Christmas. It holds the iconic phrase that is found across Christmas cards and hung in gift stores and in little children’s church plays.
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.
A single verse that holds world shaking implications. We’ve heard it so much that it is often glanced over, becoming nothing more than inspirational quote for some unrealistic figurine angel to hold on a knick-knack shelf.
Do not be afraid. It says that the shepherds were terror-stricken. We can relate. Fear eats away at our inner-world on a daily basis. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of loss. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. The angel of the Lord shone bright that night, and the shepherds shook. Perhaps it was fear of being exposed, perhaps it was the fear of standing before the holiness and splendor of celestial messengers, knowing the mess and waywardness of their own hearts. Perhaps it was fear of their low position being brought to light. They clearly weren’t going to get recognized for personal greatness in the face of such glory.
Do not be afraid. Cease your worrying. Let go of your anxieties. Don’t let fear drive your life any longer.
I bring you good news. We all could use some good news. You’re desperate for some, I can see it as you stand here in the fields on a frigid winter night. Maybe something will happen and somehow all this junk I’m walking through will be brought around. Maybe there will just be something of pure goodness on this night of pure darkness.
Good news. Euangelion. Gospel. We know the implications. Of the kingdom being brought to earth. Of the rift between a holy God and his sinful people being mended. Of the restoration and healing that will be ours.
Great Joy. As if good news wasn’t enough. Good news of great joy. It isn’t merely good news, it is the source of a joy unknown to mankind. The greek word for great has the root mega in it. Mega. Because the english word ‘great’ just doesn’t hold the potency that mega does. Mega joy.
So there’s this angel shining forth glory and proclaiming the awaited arrival of the promised restoration that we’ve been waiting for since Genesis, and the message exploding with mega joy. But that’s not even the best thing about this moment.
For all people. It wasn’t just for the shepherds. It wasn’t just the friends the ran off to tell. It wasn’t for a small select group with the right ancestry, and it wasn’t just for the people who were doing a pretty good job at the whole life thing. It was, and still is, for all people.
We aren’t left to fend for ourselves. To strive and scrape at achieving good favor with God. To attempt work our way into heaven. To stumble through this earth in silence and anonymity. To suffer the eternal punishment for our sins. And if you think you are I have some mega joy good news to tell you.
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord.