And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Every now and then, the curtain is pulled back just slightly and the glory of God shines before the eyes of men. It must have been a shock of light on that dark night in the fields as the shepherds watched their sheep. It is a fearsome thing to stand in the brightness of a holy God. But this was a joyous occasion. A gift had been given, and the shepherds would be the first to receive it. Those whose hearts were tender for their sheep would get to see the Lamb of God.
It was quite the spectacle—the glory of the Lord, the angel, the heavenly host singing praise to God. But there was never a more important message given. This was a night to rejoice because a Savior was in the world. For the first time, God would be part of His creation. He would be limited by a body, contained in time and space. He would be small and needy. But still, He was God here among us. These are the touch points where the holy enters the profane—God’s Son in a sinner’s womb, in a sinful world. God’s presence among sinful people. God’s glory in a body made of flesh. God’s goodness in an evil place.
So what do we do with those good tidings of great joy? It’s an important message that heralds a new beginning not just for those shepherds and that generation, but for all people. May we receive it as readily as the shepherds did. May we seek Jesus ourselves. May we spread the word that something so amazing has happened, and even we get to partake. May we rejoice in the news that Christ has come. May we rejoice in our Savior and experience the blessedness of the peace He brought to earth that very first Christmas.
These events exemplify what Jesus is all about. He brings light to dark places. He brings hope to hopeless people. He brings joy to seeking hearts. He brings salvation to sinners. The message came in an unexpected way. It led the shepherds to an unlikely place. But the good news has been given to us so that we can know Christ as our very own Savior.