It is significant that God chose “lowly” shepherds to be the first to receive the announcement of the birth of the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This is in keeping with the fact that the Savior came for “all people.”
The angels’ message is also significant. First, “Be not afraid.” Christ’s birth banishes fear. This message resonates throughout the Gospels. Second, the message is “good news.” It is the best news humankind has ever received. It means salvation from the bonds of sin. It means forgiveness for our guilt. Third, it is a message of “great joy.” In the words of Isaac Watts:
“Joy to the world!
The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing.”
Prayer: Loving God, in a world heavy with the threat of war,
we celebrate the Prince of Peace.
In a time characterized by greed and selfishness,
we rejoice in your selfless gift.
In an age burdened by despair and lack of hope,
we announce the advent of the Promised One.
In a society self-defined by success,
we encounter the suffering servant.
In the midst of a people who have lost their direction,
we seek the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen.