- “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” (Luke 2:8-9 ESV, emphasis added).
The shepherds were only evoking natural human emotions at this supernatural visitation. One only read about these supernatural events, not experience them! So “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.” (v. 10, emphasis added).
The angel then proceeds to overcome their “great fear” with an announcement of good news. Behind the expression “I bring you good news” is one word in the Greek text. It’s the verb form of the word we translate “gospel.”
On this first Christmas day, to overcome human fear, through his messenger, the angel, the Lord announced “good news,” that is, the gospel.
And once this announcement of good news replaces the “great fear” of people, they will have the “great joy” which this good news produces.
And what is this good news of Christmas?
- “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (v. 11, emphasis added).
In a sense we are all like Peter before the holiness and majesty of the Lord: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). This is because man’s greatest need was and remains the need to be forgiven of sin.
Then there is the good news of Christmas.