Picture yourself minding your own business at work, wherever that may be (sitting at your desk, teaching a class, serving tables, taking care of children). Without warning, a sudden and astonishing interruption appears with an extraordinary message. You are frightened, but what you hear is long-awaited news that immediately stirs your heart. So much so, that you stop what you are doing, hop in your car, and travel far to see if this miraculous news is really true. And while driving you think to yourself, “Why was I the first to hear of this news? How was I chosen to be among the few to receive this message before many others?”.
Almost 2,000 years ago, this scenario actually happened, to three simple shepherds minding their own business of watching their flocks of sheep. “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 the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified” (Luke 2:8-9). In the night, the greatest news of all came to them unexpectedly through an angel sent from the Lord, “Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord.” The appearance of the angel was nothing short of remarkable, as the heavens opened up unlike any other time in history. Can you imagine the awe that the shepherds must have felt? The shepherds were no doubt frightened by the appearance of the angel, but they believed and wasted no time in seeing this Savior for themselves.
Read Isaiah 42:1-6
At the point of the angel’s proclamation, the Savior was already born. This is a pivotal point in redemptive history! It’s a proclamation that the One, God’s Servant, has finally come to rescue people from sin. This gentle, just, unfailing, and righteous Servant, is competent to heal and restore the brokenness of this world. Do you believe you are among those who Jesus came to redeem? Perhaps you feel discouraged, unworthy, undeserving, or too far from God’s reach. We can be sure that this line of thinking is nothing but a deceitful lie. Look again at to whom the angel of the Lord first appears. The angel does not approach rich rulers, high priests, or great educated minds in ancient Rome. Today, maybe that would be wealthy businessmen, spiritually-fit pastors, or high-society politicians. No, the message was first proclaimed to shepherds, considered to hold a menial vocation with lowly social status. Truly the least of these.
God wanted to make His grand announcement of His Son’s earthly existence to ordinary humanity. His love extends to all people across all nations, and He deems the least of these as important. "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2:5). The good news of a Savior being born into the world to fulfill prophesy, redeem us, break down the sinful barrier between us and God, and ultimately bring glory to God, is joyful news that affects every person. This good news announced by angels also moves ordinary Christians today to proclaim the gospel to those around us at work, at home, or in class etc.
The birth announcement of the Messiah comes at just the right time when the world desperately needs Him. The weight of the world’s burdens and responsibilities lay heavy on humanity. Perhaps today, you are feeling weighed down by your own circumstances and life’s demands. Jesus’ birth brought hope and a future for all of mankind. And God had Jesus’ back from the very beginning, starting with His birth. He would remain constant and steadfast in His love and care for His Servant. In the same way, God desires to be in relationship with you, to love, care for, and guide you. If you are in Christ, God also has your back. You can take comfort in knowing that in a world where tragic news seems to saturate our lives, the greatest news of all prevails. In the midst of the seemingly unending darkness, a baby boy was born and proclaimed as the light of the world. A light that brings a hope and a joy unmatched by any other.
1. Do you believe the message announced by the angel is also meant for you? Can you relate to the shepherds in this story?
2. Like the angel of the Lord’s proclamation, how can you be like the angel in proclaiming the life-changing news of Jesus’ birth and truth with someone else?
3. Think upon the hope that Christ’s birth brings to the world. How does this hope change how you view your experiences, circumstances, and purpose as a follower of Christ? And just as Christ came into the world as the supreme Servant, how can you find ways to serve Him?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the miraculous birth of your Son, the Messiah. I praise you for loving me enough to send a Savior to rescue me from my sin. May I be like the angel of the Lord, and proclaim your plan of hope to others. Give me a boldness and a confidence in serving the greatest Servant of all.