Do not be afraid. Listen. I bring you news of great joy.
Twelve words in three sentences. With those words, the angel who was anointed to first deliver the Gospel message, announced it to the shepherds. Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, Immanuel had arrived. The Word made flesh had come. God is among us. You are going to have joy!
We often get so caught up in our dramas, and even in church bureaucracy, that we miss the essential and constant message given to us this night. The Good News of great joy!
Jesus came to bring good news. His news takes away all that is scary, all that is condemning, and that which rises to bring us down by accusation. His news is strong enough to overcome any negativity in our lives. He literally set aside His glory and crown in that impoverished stable to bring us victory, a crown, a trophy we can proudly display.
His victory â€“ our salvation.
His crown â€“ given us as the crown of eternal life.
Our trophy â€“ new lives, changed lives, un-fearing, brave lives of witness and proclamation wherein we say with the angel, to all who will hear us, Do not be afraid. Listen. I bring you news of great joy.
Do not be fooled by this gentle sight â€“ for within it is symbolized Jesus, the great warrior King who comes toward us. He came to do war with fear, condemnation, and accusation. He came not to war with us, but rather to deliver us from the war the world makes. He came toward us and invites us to stand with Him as our great shield. Behind His shield we go forward with twelve words in three sentences, saying to all who will hear us: Do not be afraid. Listen. I bring you news of great joy.
We have Godâ€™s great Good News. Good news of great joy. How wonderful, how blessed is this night. Do not be afraid. Listen. I bring you news of great joy.