From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
God brought the first message of the birth of Jesus to ordinary people rather than to princes and kings. In this instance, God spoke through His holy angel to the shepherds who were keeping sheep in the fields. This was a lowly occupation, so shepherds were not well educated. But Mary tells us the true story: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones; and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away, empty” (Luke 1:52–53).
What a word for our generation! What was the message of the angel to the shepherds? First, he told them not to be afraid. Over and over again, the presence of angels was frightening to those to whom they came. But unless they came in judgment, the angels spoke a word of reassurance. They calmed the people to whom they came. This tells us that the appearance of angels is awe-inspiring, something about them awakening fear in the human heart. They represent a presence that has greatness and sends a chill down the spine.
But when the angel had quieted the fears of the shepherds, he brought this message: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
The good tidings were that the Savior had come. The people needed somebody who could bring them back into fellowship with God, because the blood sacrifices couldn’t do this in any permanent way. But the blood of the Savior could. The angelic message was that God had come, redemption was possible. The Lord had visited His people with salvation. What a Christmas message!
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)