The Christmas Story – Heaven’s Birth Announcement

Text – Luke 2:8-14

  1. Introduction
    1. Monday this week we got a birth announcement from my niece and her husband: Ava Naomi was born at 3:00 PM; she was 7lb 12oz and 19 ½”. Mom and baby are doing fine.
      1. What was interesting to me is how we received the birth announcement: Lucy got a text. When we were building our family birth announcements were mailed out. Now, more often than not, they are posted on Facebook.
      2. When a child comes into this world, it’s a joyous occasion and we want to share it with all of our friends and relatives.
    2. Heaven is no different. When Christ was born heaven made a birth announcement that was recorded in history, not just for Mary and Joseph’s friends and relatives, but so that the whole world and all future generations would know about the birth of Jesus. Let’s read about it.
  2. Explanation of the text
    1. The first thing we should note is to whom the announcement was made – shepherds.
      1. First of all, by this time in Israel’s history shepherding was a lowly occupation. They were considered untrustworthy and their occupation made them ceremonially unclean. I have often wondered why heaven chose these shepherds instead of some more devout souls. But an inescapable conclusion is that the announcement came to the social outcasts of the day.
      2. However, David, probably the greatest king of Israel, was a shepherd before he was chosen by God to lead the nation.
      3. Furthermore, in both the OT and the NT those who care for God’s people are called shepherds.
      4. One commentator observed, “The shepherds of Luke 2 may, therefore, symbolize all the ordinary people who have joyfully received the gospel and have become in various ways pastor to others.” (EBC Vol. 8; p.845)
    2. The next thing to note is how the announcement came.
      1. It was brought by an angel. Angels are the messengers of God.
      2. He appeared to them and the brilliant light of the glory of the Lord shone around them.
      3. They were terrified!
    3. We note is what the angel said.
      1. The first thing he said was, “Don’t be afraid.” Throughout scripture, whenever an angel appears with a message from God the dialogue begins with “Don’t be afraid.”
      2. Fear is the normal human reaction to a startling event, and heaven recognizes that. God does not want us to fear his good news.
      3. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. . .A Savior has been born to you.”
        1. It occurred to me as I was writing this sermon that the angel announced a Messiah for all people. But the Jewish nation was looking for a Jewish messiah. Perhaps that’s why so many missed him.
        2. Sometimes I wonder if we really get it. In our ignorance, we often do not realize that we are lost and in danger, so the announcement of a savior is greeted by us with a “So what.” Somehow our world has lost its sense of sin. Because we do not see ourselves a sinners in danger of eternal damnation, the announcement of a savior is met with indifference.
      4. Having announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds, suddenly there appears with the angel “a great company of the heavenly hosts praising God.”
        1. They were praising God that peace has come to those on whom his favor rests.
        2. On whom does his favor rest? Peter said it best in Acts 10:34-35, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
  3. Conclusion
    1. God could have made his birth announcement to more noble or devout people. But he chose to make it to ordinary people, even social outcasts, so that we would know that Christ is for us.
    2. As we celebrate this season, let us never forget that he loves everyone of us so much that heaven’s birth announcement didn’t just make the history books – it made the Bible!