Good News That Brings Great Joy
At Christmas, many of us read these famous verses out of the book of Luke:
“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12, MSG)
As the story continues, more angels join the first one and break into a song that probably left the shepherds filled with awe, but also curious enough to leave the fields in search of the baby lying in a manger.
Historically, God’s angels don’t lie, so the shepherds found the baby just like the angel described. A messiah had truly come.
And many of them were hoping for a savior to free their country, but God had much more in mind.
We’ve all probably heard many sermons around this story. (How God chose to announce the arrival of the most significant shepherd to simple men in a lonely field. Or, how He deliberately chose to arrive in a smelly stable through a teenage girl who wasn’t noble by birth. Or how he also spoke to astrologers from the East through a star so they could honor the King of the Jews and lay gifts at His feet, etc.)
But I’d like to focus on a simple thought that is shared in John’s book by Jesus Himself.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17, NIV)
It’s such a beautiful, simple truth: God loves the world.
Without going into a huge theological discussion, what’s important to know is that God removed every barrier that ever caused us to feel separated from Him. His love moved every mountain of sin and shame, so nothing can ever distance us from Him unless we choose it.
Even then, He never stops loving us.
This is the truth that brought the angels such joy and caused them to break into a glorious song of praise.
This is the truth that the first-century men, women, and children experienced first-hand as they walked alongside Jesus.
This is the truth that still moves the hearts of any who come in contact with the real deal.
God loves the world. He loves you. He loves me.
Let that bring us great joy this Christmas weekend.
Love to you and yours,