This is what the angel said who appeared to the shepherds on a Bethlehem hillside many years ago: ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The good news was that the Savior had been born.
What’s the best news you have ever heard? Was it when the doctor said, “Good news. You don’t have cancer”? Or was it when the HR department called and said, “Good news. You’ve got the job”? Maybe it was when your future father-in-law said, “Good news. You can marry my daughter.” I know that last one seems like an anachronism, but I know for a fact that there are still young men even in this day and age who would rather ask than tell. So, what’s your best news ever? Was it when the call came that you had qualified for your dream house?
Those are all good news. But they dwell in the lower regions of what we want or don’t want, rather than in the upper region of what we desperately need. They are also temporary good news. Cancer or not, one day we are still going to die. Whether we love it or loathe it, the job will end. Marriage is wonderful, but even if you live happily, it will not be for “ever after.” You will be your wife’s brother in heaven, and she your sister. And your dream house? It will fall down either before or after you do.
That’s what makes Christmas different. The Savior who was born in Bethlehem was Christ the Lord. He came to give us what we need, not just what we want. He came to satisfy the longing that we are all born with, which he created in us. We long for the eternal. We know in our hearts, because he put it there, that this world is not all there is. In fact, we even know in our hearts that we were created for a relationship that goes beyond what a husband and wife have together, or even a parent and a child. He who made us made us for himself.
Jesus’ birth was good news of great joy. Not just for the shepherds, but for all the people. The Savior was born for people all over the world who would come and adore Him. However, His coming is great joy for “all the people,” but not for every person. That’s why the heavenly host of angels also said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” There is a somber message here, mingled with good news of great joy. The coming of the Messiah would bring peace only to those with whom God is pleased. Who does that include?
The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” The message of Christmas is only good news of great joy to those who believe the promises of God and the testimony of his Word.
It has puzzled many that this time of the year can be the most joyful for many, and the bluest for many others. However, it is no wonder that the season of hope fails to satisfy the heart that is consumed only with what it wants and doesn’t even acknowledge what it desperately needs. It is no wonder that “good news of great joy” eludes the one who lives for the moment and never even considers eternity.
What’s the best news of all time? The Savior, Christ the Lord, has come!