Is the Good News Really Good?

The Advent season is a time of anticipation, waiting, and preparation. During the month of December, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages and characters connected with the coming of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us.


I grew up going to church. I had a really good experience, and I am very thankful for my upbringing. The reality is that I have heard the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for me thousands of times. I honestly can’t even begin to count the number of times that I have read Scripture or heard someone preaching, teaching, or explaining the “good news”: Jesus came to this earth to show us how to live and to take our place by dying on the cross.

Do you ever treat the gospel, the “good news,” not like good news but just news that you’ve heard many, many times before? In today’s passage, we see the shepherds respond to the angel’s announcement that the Savior of the world has been born not as if it is just news, or even good news, but great news.


8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Shepherds were generally looked down upon because they were ceremonially unclean and believed to be untrustworthy. But in the Christmas story, they are an example of how the undeserving and lowly receive the gospel by God’s grace and mercy, and then proclaim it joyfully to the world around them. I want to be like the shepherds, who responded to the announcement of the Christ child as if it was truly amazing news. I need God’s help to live today believing that I am desperate for a Savior, and the great news is that he has come and his name is Jesus. And if you and I really believe this is great news, then there is no way we are going to keep that news to ourselves!