Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for 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.” … 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, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:10–11, 13–14
It’s hard to believe, but over 50 years ago, A Charlie Brown Christmas made its debut. Much to the consternation of the CBS executives, Charles Schulz, the writer of the Peanuts comic strip, insisted that the film would contrast the true meaning of Christmas to the secularization and commercialism of the day. Linus recites Luke chapter 2, and then looks at Charlie Brown and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Today, we still have rampant commercialization and secularization within our culture, and many don’t make the connection between what is seen in the marketplace and what we as believers celebrate. But this passage states plainly what Christmas is really all about.
The Greatest Message of All Time
“I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Do we realize this truth? For herein is the gospel message. The word gospel means “good news,” but these are good tidings of great joy. This is great news!
This news should dominate our hearts today. But often as believers, as we look at the world, and sometimes at our own personal circumstances, we get discouraged and depressed, and many times, we are not joyful. But we can be and should be because we are the recipients of these good tidings of great joy.
We Need a Savior
And what are these good tidings? “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior …” That’s the great news. There has been born to us a Savior.
This idea of a Savior implies that we need to be saved, rescued, delivered. And that is indeed the case. Jesus has been sent by God into the world to save us from the destructive power of Satan. But He also came to save us from sin—that destructive force which works within our own souls and manifests itself in our own lives. Oh how we need a Savior, and how wonderful it is to be delivered!
Christ Is for All People
The angel told these shepherds that the Savior is “Christ the Lord.” The meaning of the name of Jesus, Yahweh, is Savior. We have a Savior, He is the Messiah, and He is the Lord.
But notice also that the angel said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” The message of Christmas is universal. It’s for all people. It’s not just for a select group of people somewhere; it’s not just for a particular ethnic group or for people located in a certain geographical region of the world. The message is for everyone.
Now think with me for a moment. God finds this group of regular folks, honestly the lowliest people in society at this point, and He sends the angel. Go tell them. Astounding! Of all the great people throughout history, the message comes to the shepherds because God wants us to know that this good news is for everyone, without exception and without prejudice.
Glory to God in the Highest
God is the one who came up with a plan because of His mercy and grace. The message of Christmas is that God’s will for man is good; His desire for man is good; His intentions for man are good. There is no God like the God of the Bible. There’s no message like the gospel of Jesus Christ. There’s no religion on the planet that even remotely comes close to this message. This is the greatest news there is: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!
I leave you now to celebrate with your family, but I would encourage you to meditate on the opening words of “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room.
Christmastime is a time of exchanging gifts because God gave the gift of His Son. The gift of God is wrapped up in a Person, and that Person is Jesus Christ.
Father God, thank You for this wonderful reminder. You sent Your Son Jesus to everyone—small or great, rich or poor, known or unknown. And He’s come to take up residence in our hearts. May every single person who reads this message know by experience the joy that comes by receiving the gift of Your Son today. Thank You for Your love and Your grace. Amen.
If you live in the Orange County area, bring the family and join us at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Our Christmas Eve services are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Christmas morning services are at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. You can also join us online by going to live.cccm.com.