We are continuing our look at my list of top Christmas Bible verses. Last week we looked at a 400 year old prophecy. This week let’s look at the birth announcement!
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “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. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And 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 among those with whom he is pleased!” -Luke 2:9-14
This announcement is better than Facebook official! The first to hear of Jesus birth was a group of poor common shepherds who run face to face with a freaking angel! The contrast between the speaker and receiver is easy to overlook if we don’t slow down.
Shepherds were with animals all day and all night, so they did not smell very good. The shepherds were the low-end of the local social pecking order. Angels, on the other hand, are at the top of the global food chain! Almost every time an angel appears to a human in the Bible they have to start by saying “Fear not.” Angels were big and powerful and hung out with God Almighty, while shepherds stunk of sheep urine.
As if that contrast was not enough, then a multitude of angels appear and those angels begin praising God in front of these shepherds! Talk about feeling underdressed for a party! If that had been me, I might have tried to hide behind a sheep, or maybe pick up a cute baby lamb, to distract from how outclassed I was! But here’s the thing, nobody was distracted by their commonness. In fact, that might have been the whole point.
The contrast between the angelic messengers and the run of the mill shepherds is one of the things that makes the birth announcement of Jesus so great! Starting with the mediocre and common, Jesus is for everybody! This baby will bring salvation to even the poor and unremarkable! The Gospel is not just for the high and lofty, but it is for normal dudes like me and like you. This “good news” message of joy comes to all who would receive it! Merry Christmas!
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