(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Bearers of Good News (The Angels)
By Hannah Kerr
Angels play important roles in the accounts of Jesus’ birth, mostly as messengers to tell God’s chosen people of His plan. They are the bearers of Good News! As we read the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke, one angelic encounter carries a special sense of glory and joy. This is when the angels encounter the shepherds in the field on the night of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:10-15 says,
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
It is clear that the angels are crucial to the message of Christmas. These heavenly beings were the messengers who shared the Good News with shepherds. They were the worshippers who demonstrated the appropriate response to the Messiah’s birth. They brought peace to the shepherds in a moment of fear. What an honor it must have been for the angels to participate in the beauty of Jesus’ birth story! Without the angels’ message, the shepherds would not have known about the birth of their Savior. The heavenly host had News to share, and they could do nothing but sing and praise at the top of their lungs in response to that News.
The most striking part about this story is who the News was shared with. The angels were sent to the shepherds, and shepherds were not highly regarded in society in that time. Therefore, the ones who watched over sheep were not the likely candidates to be the first to hear about the Messiah’s birth. We don’t know if the angels had any say in their audience for this declaration of Good News, but the important thing is that they declared the News. God told them about His incredible plan to send His only Son to Earth, and their response was to bear that plan to others and praise God for it! Because of this clear pattern of revelation and response in praise, it is safe to say that the heavenly hosts were good messengers, but they were also effective worship leaders!
If we were to take on the role of anyone in the nativity story this Christmas, I wonder what it would look like for us to follow the model of the angels. We have heard the message of Jesus and experienced the glory of God; now our natural response is sharing that with others. We have no choice but to worship in light of God’s goodness to us! The message of Jesus can bring hope to all people—even those who our society has deemed as “unimportant” or “lowly.” Maybe they need it the most. What would it look like for us to share with them? We could lead them into direct connection with their Messiah; the One who came for each one of us. This Christmas, we have the privilege of bringing hope and peace to those around us, so let us learn from the angels’ example and be bearers of the Good News of Jesus Christ.