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Good News of Great Joy

12/1/19 | Christmas | by Jason Swanson

Good News of Great Joy

    Doesn’t everyone love to hear good news?  I don’t believe there are too many people alive today who would not be ecstatic to hear that they were just given a million dollars.  Without question, that would probably be considered good news for all—no matter what country, nationality or even what currency the newly awarded gift came in.  Yet, as the Christmas Season comes upon us, when the true meaning of Christmas is proclaimed some shake their heads in disagreement.  

    I remember coming home from the mission field many years ago and it was deemed inappropriate, bordering on illegal, to say the greeting “Merry Christmas”.  Instead, the familiar greeting had been replaced with “Happy Holidays”. Why is that? I believe it is because to some the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going to be offensive.  There will be some who, when they hear the glad tidings of what the Scriptures have to say about the birth of Jesus Christ, will shake their heads in defiance, put on a long face and respond as if they were told some terrible news.  They do not look upon the Gospel and the birth of Jesus Christ as good news. It is all about perspective. There are some who look at what God says is good as bad. Such people need our prayers. These people need the hope of the Gospel.  Such people need to hear the words of the angel in Luke 2:10-11 with spiritually tuned hearts. Listen to the words which the angel proclaims:

    “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

    Why does the angel begins his message with the command to “fear not”?  Well, seeing an angel was no small matter. In fact, most of the times when angels appear on the pages of Scripture the response is complete fright.  So, it is natural to become fearful when a messenger from God shows up. But why? Because God is glorious and holy—and man is not. When reminded of God’s perfection, we are only more aware of our own sinful nature.

    The angel then calms the fears of the shepherds to let them know that he is not on a mission of judgement, but on a mission of grace: proclaiming news for them which they do not deserve.  The news of the angel is a gift none of us deserve. Grace bursts forth in a bright and new way. It is a grace that has come down from heaven and yet not even heaven will remain silent. Just a few minutes after this angel makes his proclamation, a chorus of angels proclaim in loud song, 

    “Glory to God in the Highest”.  

    The angels understand the meaning of this night, as do the shepherds when they behold the heavenly symphony. Later, the wise men will travel from afar to behold the Christ and offer their own praises. But, do we get it?  

    All of heaven stopped and pays attention to this birth of all births.  The servants of God came and worshiped their creator when He took on human flesh.  But do we fully grasp the weight and the glory of that?

    What an incredible picture of God’s love and grace wrapped together so beautifully.  God’s gift of redemption out of our sinful state is beautifully presented as God becomes flesh and bone.  As He becomes one of us. The God of the universe, whose greatness is immeasurable, whose power is unlimited and whose holiness is untainted, steps into humanity to do the unthinkable—become one of us and then ultimately to die for us.  

    It really is too great of a thought to completely comprehend.  How could God become man? Why would God become man? I don’t know that we will ever truly understand the answer to that question for it resides somewhere between all of God’s perfections. Between His Holiness and Love, His Grace and Mercy, His Faithfulness and Justice.  All I really know for sure is that there is no news better on this planet than the news of Jesus’ birth—that God became man to restore us to Him. Let us thank the Lord for His birth this Christmas, pray for those who don’t understand it, and proclaim it to all the reason Jesus came.

    Rejoicing Together in The Savior’s Birth,

    Pastor Jason