It was a night like any other night. There was a little chill in the air, and there was the monotonous bleating of the sheep. As faithful as the chill and the sound of sheep, the shepherds were faithful to do their job. They even lived in the fields. They would take turns to make sure that the sheep were always watched. Perhaps these sheep were designated for temple sacrifices, we do not know. What we do know is that shepherds weren’t exactly the elite. Indeed, they were just ordinary people.
And then it happened. Suddenly, an angel appeared, and the black sky was flooded with the light of God’s glory! As expected, the shepherds were terrified! Did they do something wrong? Would they be killed in the fields? No. Instead, they would be given the most wonderful news in history:
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
The angel had a message that he described as “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” There is plenty of news that occurs on an everyday basis, but how rare it is to hear good news, much less good news that brings great joy, much less good news that brings great joy for all people. What could be so good that it could fill the world population with great joy? A Savior has been born– Christ the Lord!!!
Certainly the world had seen saviors before. Moses was a savior. He led Israel out of slavery in Egypt and to the edge of the Promised Land. But he was not the Christ, and he was not the Lord.
Certainly the world had seen Christs before. David was a savior and a Christ. He led Israel in victory over the Philistine enemies and ushered in the greatest period of their people’s history. But he was not the Lord. And he certainly did not bring the salvation and reign that was anticipated in the Scriptures. Only one person could do that– the LORD himself. And that is what he did.
The Savior, the Christ, the Lord. The fulfillment of God’s promises. The one in whom is salvation. The one who will bring the everlasting kingdom of righteousness and justice. The one who is the very Son of God. This one has come! What is the only response that the angels anticipated? Great joy for all the people! This is a time of great gladness and joy, because Jesus has come!
This leads to some very provocative questions. If Jesus’ coming is the reason for global gladness, shouldn’t it be a crime that it isn’t?! Shouldn’t we call the nations to rejoice?! Isn’t it a sin not to rejoice in him? Isn’t it an indicator that we may not be as close to him as we think? In other words, isn’t one’s joy in Jesus’ coming something to be pursued, or is it something about which we can be indifferent?