Christmas is “Good News.”
Luke 2:10-13 – 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
Jesus came into the world to bring good news to all mankind. The good news banishes fear and gives everlasting peace by way of Salvation and not a part from it.
This word for Good News was EUONGELION. When the men of the village were off in battle the warriors would often send messengers back home to share news with the village. Most often the news was “good news” as they had a desire to keep the morale and the hopes of the people alive and fresh. In many cases the messenger would bring news that victory had been won over their enemies or the messenger would proclaim the death of an opponent.
Some historians say that the Jews would greet each other with the phrase “Have you heard any EUONGALION?” You see they longed for a Messiah, one who would save them. In them was this longing to see the coming Messiah.
That is why the words that the angel Gabriel brought to the shepherds that day was so important. Gabriel came as a messenger to proclaim the Good News that victory had been won and that peace was coming to the world. Victory would be won and peace would come through the birth of the baby Jesus would be their Messiah.
While the God News brings so much into the life of the believer please note two important results of the Good News:
- It banishes fear – fear not
- It gives everlasting peace – peace on earth among those with whom he is pleased.
God has created us in such a way that fear is a wake-up call. It arouses awareness of danger; it puts us on high alert. Yet it can also do just the opposite, overwhelming us and diminishing our alertness. Neuroscience links fear to the amygdala in the lower, primitive brain. This small structure scouts for trouble and in detecting it, sounds an alarm and jerks multiple neural cords. As it reacts quickly to the threat, it ignores fine distinctions and uses generalizations. Its strength is rapid processing, and its weakness is lack of precision. With extreme fear, noradrenaline flushes through the body, initially producing intense vigilance, but then flooding the brain and riveting attention on the object of fear. Now the fearful person can hardly shift attention elsewhere. Tunnel vision occurs. Fear takes over, overwhelming the imaginative capacities and advanced reasoning. The fearful one becomes locked into the present and loses the ability to envision something other than what is now threatening. Reality is pruned to the senses, to the synapses mediating fear, to the paralyzing moment.
But Christ comes as the Good News to banish fear. The angels said fear not. How often are we gripped with fear and other such emotions that tend to deter us from living out life as we ought to?
Fear has been a part of mankind’s psychic seen the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. But in reality nothing has changed today! People are still caught in the grip of their fears, and this is even true during the Christmas Season, a time that should be joyous, happy and totally Christ-centered. We fear not having enough money, of not meeting everyone’s expectations; we worry over meals, over who will be there and who will not. We just seem to fear everything.
But Jesus came to banish fear, e.g. that unhealthy fear that binds us and prevents us from enjoying life.
Three times in the Christmas story Jesus spoke the words, “Fear not.”
- Mary – Luke 1:30 – Do not be afraid – This spoke to the fear of God’s providence and what He is working out in us. Mary could have been afraid of what people would think of her and she could have been afraid of rejection which often occurred in that time when one conceived a baby out of wedlock.
- Joseph – Matthew 1:20 – Do not fear to take Mary as your wife – This spoke to the fear of immediate obedience. Joseph was called on by God to accept this assignment of being the father of Jesus. While he had every right to leave Mary and refuse to marry her, He did the right thing.
- The shepherds – Do not fear God’s presentation and call – These men were the outcasts of the land. The shepherds performed the lowest of duties and responsibilities. God came to the lowest so that there is a recognition that all can come to Christ.
The Good News gives everlasting peace – peace on earth among those with whom he is pleased. This is a peace that cannot be manufacturer but it must be received as a gift from God. This peace is not an absence of problems or difficulties but it is the recognition that God is present regardless of the problem.
Illustration of Peace – Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner. The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace? A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.
This painting won as it illustrates the fact that peace is not the absence of turmoil but the recognition that God is there.
The scriptures themselves echo this message when in Isaiah 26:3 states that you (God) keeps him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. This peace is beyond human understanding, as we keep our minds stayed on Jesus and our eyes fixed on Him. Such peace is in a heart that is trouble free and unafraid regardless how difficult the trials and circumstances of life may be.
The fact is no matter the trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger you face, by the power of His Spirit living in you, you can continue to abide in His peace. You can face death, persecutions, the darts of Satan, present difficulties, and future uncertainties confident of His abiding presence and sustaining grace.
Philippians 4:5B-7 The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Are you afraid today? Do you lack peace? Pray and ask God to touch your life and bring you to a place where you can trust Him, for it is in trusting God that we minimize fear and dread in our life.
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