Tidings Of Great Joy For All

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Tidings Of Great Joy For All

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, behold, and angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which is to be to all people.”–Luke 2:8-10

Everyone likes to receive good news. At times, when it seems as though the entire world is against you, a little good news can turn your day around. When it does come, we, upon occasion, tend to be a bit skeptical or even a little afraid that it is a mistake. Sometimes, we even expect bad news based solely on the messenger’s appearance.

Imagine you are a shepherd in the hills outside of Bethlehem. The night is cold and you stand with your back to a warm fire. Nearby, the sheep have settled down for the night. Perhaps your cheeks are cold, but you know turning toward the fire will leave the sheep vulnerable to predators. A fellow shepherd hands you a loaf of bread; you tear off a piece then pass it back. This is how your night always goes.

Suddenly, the night becomes as bright as day. You drop your bread as you grab your shepherd’s staff, ready for whatever. When the light fades, an angel stands in front of you. While growing up, you heard the tales—handed down through the generations—about angels. While they all brought important messages from God, not all angelic visits had happy endings. Fear grips you, so you drop to your knees. The angel looks at you. Your heart begins to beat wildly when he opens his mouth to speak.

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which is to be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

The angel came to you, a lowly shepherd, to proclaim the birth of a child to you. He is saying this baby is a part of you. The angel did not say the baby was born to Mary and Joseph, share in their joy; he said it was born to YOU. He goes on to say this isn’t just any child, this is Christ the Lord, the Savior…your Savior. A host of emotions overwhelm you. “But suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Then, the angel is gone as quick as he appeared. The light fades while night returns. Someone remembers the sheep; you look and they seem undisturbed by what just happened. You and the other shepherds begin to talk. Someone (perhaps it is you) says, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

You go with haste and find Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in the manger. When you see Him lying there, you begin to tell of the angel and the heavenly host and all that happened to you in the field. You begin to tell anyone who will listen. And when it is time to leave, you do so praising and glorifying God.

How is that for receiving good news?

However, you can’t speak of the Birth without speaking of the Death, Burial, and the Resurrection. Just after Jesus’ resurrection, He gives His disciples the “Great Commission.” In Mark 16:15 we read, “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

The world is full of shepherds, each with his or her own flock. Some have flocks filled with sadness and lonely memories of days gone by, while anger or regret fills others. There are those who tend addictions, while others keep constant watch over sickness. They all have two things in common. The first is that they are bound to their flocks; the second is that they need some good news. They need to know that a Savior was born to them.

Many will be afraid to leave their flocks, their addictions, their sorrows, and their sickness. Tell them that if they let God become their shepherd, they can find the peace He has waiting for them. Tell them they don’t have to be afraid, you have good tidings of great joy.

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