Picture yourself in a field outside the small, Judean town of Bethlehem. Your job is to tend sheep. About the only excitement you ever experience is the occasional stray wolf looking for a lamb chop.
Then one night as you and your friends sit out by the fire watching for predators, something truly startling occurs. The sky begins to burn brightly as if it is on fire and then angels begin to descend. Even the best and bravest of us would be freaking out.
So what would it take to calm you down? What thing could these heavenly beings say that would put you at ease? Well, when this scene that I just described actually occurred over 2,000 years ago, the message was pretty straightforward, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Fear not, that part seems pretty self explanatory, but what about the rest? What was this news and why was it good? To answer that question, you only need look in the mirror. Man is born with a nature that is totally corrupted by sin. We are separated from the creator who made us because we have rebelled against Him. We are lost in the darkness without any light to show us the way back home.
Then enters one man. But He is no ordinary man. He is the very Son of God, come to earth in the form of a baby. His mission is to live a sinless life, die a horrible death, and pay the sin debt that we rightly owed so that if we receive His forgiveness and claim His sacrifice by faith, then we can be welcomed into His family. We can see that light. We can find our way home.
This is what made that evening in Bethlehem so many years ago so special. The message of the angels was a message of hope. A message of deliverance. They might as well have said, Fear not, for I bring you the gospel. The word gospel means “good news” and it was indeed good news that they brought.
I hope that you will ponder this good news and receive it if you have not already. Then you like the shepherds will have the best reason to glorify and praise God.