“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
On the night the Christ child was born, God dispatched an army of angels to give witness to the blessed occasion. His chosen human recipients of the divine message were some shepherds watching over their flocks. In all likelihood, these would have been young men, probably around 14-18 years of age. Hired for their strength (not skills or experience) these young men were easily replaced and therefore not considered valuable or important to most. Again we see that God’s economy is so very different from our own. God could have chosen to have angels visit the Sanhedrin, the priests or the scribes, or even some important government official like Herod the Great. Instead, He chose the devalued and underestimated, the overlooked and even marginalized. The apostle Paul marvelled at God’s wisdom and power in accomplishing great things in the world through simple, common people (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). The heart of the angelic message reveals the kind heart of God toward all of His fallen image-bearers. “I bring you good tidings of great joy,” proclaimed the angel, “which shall be to all people.” Israel’s long awaited Messiah had been born. He was destined not only to redeem His covenant nation (Luke 1:49-55, 67-79), but bring salvation to the whole world (Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6; 49:6, 22). The angel was suddenly joined by an army of magnificent celestial beings. “Glory to God in the highest!” they proclaimed, “and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The heavenly army’s proclamation is as precise as it is instructive. Glory to God must come first; unless men will repent and glorify the God of heaven there can be no peace on earth and no genuine goodwill toward men. Only when men glorify God for Who He is will they begin to regard their fellow human beings for who they are. Only then will they begin to show pure, unadulterated goodwill towards one another. We praise God for the Christ child, born of a woman, born under the law (Galatians 4:4), Whose life was an object lesson, a stellar example of how to glorify God in the highest, and how to show genuine good will toward our fellow human beings. May the Lord help us conform more closely to the image of the blessed One Who is Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Hallelujah to the Lamb!