And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and…said…I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11 NIV)
In the fields near Bethlehem shepherds looked after the sheep and lambs enabling them to graze safely as they protected them from predators. One of the destinations for these animals would be the temple where they would be used for sacrifice. How appropriate that the first people to hear about Jesus’ birth were those who guarded the sacrifices He would later replace.
The shepherds of that day would have been regarded as among the lowest people in society. They were people who were despised, not trusted and had a poor reputation.
By letting shepherds know about the good news of Jesus’ birth and sending them to meet Him, God made it clear that no one was outside His love. The Messiah came for everyone.
Part of the angelic message made that abundantly clear:
‘I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’. (v.10)
It must have been particularly heart-warming for the shepherds to hear
‘a Savior has been born to you’.
Usually they are the ones rejected, not included.
Having seen a supernatural presence they were understandably fearful. A choir of angels doesn’t show up every day. The men were stunned and terrified, but the angel quickly made it evident that his presence was cause for rejoicing. God wanted the shepherds to know the good news about the coming of Jesus and his work of salvation.
The solution to our fears is no different today.
We may have many fears to deal with. Global ones such as, ‘How will Brexit affect the UK?’, ‘What will a Trump presidency mean for the world?’ They may be personal fears like, ‘Will I have a job next year?’ ‘Will my health continue to decline?’ Or we may fear that because we are such ‘a bad person’ no one will ever love me.
If you are fearful about the future the angel’s message is for you:
“Do not be afraid…Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (vv.10-11)
Jesus is the solution to our fears.
As we look to and trust in him our fears will be placed in their proper perspective.
And the good news is anyone and everyone can come to him with their fears. We are all invited, all included, all accepted. No one is outside the love of God in Christ Jesus.
No wonder this is good news, and no wonder the shepherds glorified and praised God (v.20).
How about you?
Father we praise you that the birth of your son is good news for everyone.
Have a good Christmas looking to Jesus,