“Do not be afraid… Good news of Great Joy for all the people.”
How are we to process or even comprehend the absolute assurance of the above proclamation within our difficult and uncertain epochs as the quest for understanding becomes even more necessary in these intensified times? Self-evaluation and situational circumstances are most closely assessed and even the ability to find truth may be hindered by the emotional and psychological pressure which does so saturate the ability to simply function.
So, whether you are believers or not, life can and will throw some serious curves, such as death of a loved one, loss of job or relationships, health problems or political unrest, just to name a few things.
Enter in the meaning and purpose of Christmas, which is not just a caroling season, a religious tradition, or a holiday reason to go to the mall or have family gatherings. No, there is so much more.
Within the Christmas message from Luke 2:8-20 lies the key which anchors and guides all creation. The angel’s message to the shepherds not only reached back to man’s purpose in the beginning, but it also stretches forth to the end of time.
First, the angels tell the shepherds to not be afraid, verse 10. Sin causes the flesh to initially be fearful of the things of God, then shame seeps in. This is why Adam and Eve hid themselves in Genesis 3:8. Shame is ultimately a useless cover for fear.
Fearful of not being in control of our surroundings, our careers or sudden changes rests just below the surface of all our lives.
The angel continues: There is this Good News, but wait, aren’t we surrounded by news 24/7 and some of it is good? Yes, but this news is not about a transaction (between man and man) but rather a transformation (between God and man). This good news cuts to the heart of our greatest fear, which is a life without God, a hope without purpose. And this Good News shows up the highest glory, the reason for the season and the motivation to share this message with others.
And, not only is this good news, it is of a Great Joy! Yes, finally, but true freedom from the clutches of sin has entered this world as a baby. Eternity has stepped into time and even time itself must have a new beginning. Joy, then, is the most expressible conclusion to this new advent of salvation.
And finally, the angel said, this is for all the people! This universal message from a Sovereign God stands open to all who are willing to admit their need for a Savior.
Because if there was no Christmas night, there would be no Easter morning, and we as people would still be marred down in our sin, wrapped in fear, “good newsless” with no joy, with a purpose unclear, a destiny unsure and with a love unexperienced. This is why Christmas matters.
The Rev. Angelo Frazier is a pastor and a volunteer chaplain with the Bakersfield Police Department.