One night in Bethlehem, against the backdrop of the world’s sorrow, joy broke through the darkness, taking everyone by surprise. Angels exploded into the night sky, shocking a rag tag group of shepherds minding their flocks. Israel labored under Roman oppression. The world groaned under the tyranny of sin and injustice. But good news had come!
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “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.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying. “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:8-14
The world today is full of fear. Not unlike that night 2,000 years ago. War, conflict, and oppression was as real then as it is now. No one needs to be told how hard life is. We know it. And Jesus is more aware of that reality than anyone.
The contrast of going from a perfect heavenly home, to this messy broken one must have assaulted his senses. But he was willing, for the great joy it would bring him, to come and rescue us.
People all around us are in need of messengers to say, “Don’t be afraid. There is good news, even reason for great joy.” A Savior, who meets us in our pain, our brokenness, our despair, has come. Great need, met with saving grace, produces great joy.
Are you a modern day messenger of joy?
God has given us a message to share with our neighbors and family, our coworkers and friends. We celebrate, as the angels did so long ago, the gift of goodwill to all people that God has given. His Son. A cause for great joy!
Father, thank you for giving your best gift to the likes of us. We are humbled. Remind us again of our need for you and the joy we first felt when we realized you had met that need. Make us joyful messengers of good news. Amen.