An angel of the Lord appears to shepherds who live “out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (Luke 2:8) The angel terrifies the shepherds, but reassures them by telling them, “I bring you good news of great joy.” The angel tells the men of the Savior’s birth, and of the sign by which they will know they’ve found Him. He will be “a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
The same night, the “Magi from the east” see the star of the Christ, the “king of the Jews,” and begin their long journey to Jerusalem. Perhaps an angel has told them of the Christ Child’s, but just as likely is that they know of the prophecies regarding the Messiah. At any rate, the Magi spend several years traveling to greet the Lord. When they reach Jerusalem, King Herod sends them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1,2,8) The star goes ahead of the Magi until they come to the house where Jesus lives with His parents, Joseph and Mary. “They bow down and worship Him. Then they open their treasures and present Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11) After being warned in a dream not to return to King Herod, the Magi “return to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2:12)
And so, Jesus is welcomed into the world by the most humble and by the most majestic of people — shepherds who live with their sheep and Magi, the wise men of their land. Both types of people worship the Christ Child. Both discover the “good news of great joy.”
May we also know and cherish this good news!