“A Great Joy” ( Luke 2:8-11, WYC ) by Carley Evans


El Greco, Adoration of the Shepherds lit by th...
El Greco, Adoration of the Shepherds lit by the Christ Child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The night Jesus is born, shepherds keep watch over their flocks of sheep in the hillside pastures around Bethlehem. An angel of the Lord appears to them, stands beside them. The “clearness of God shines about them” and they are filled with “great dread.” The angel tells the shepherds not to be in dread because he comes with a sermon of “a great joy.” The angel proclaims the first evangelism – that “a great joy shall be to all people. For a Saviour is born to day to you, that is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.”

The angel says this joy is for all people.

“And shepherds were in the same country, waking and keeping the watches of the night on [upon] their flock. And lo! the angel of the Lord stood beside them, and the clearness of God shined about them [and the clearness of God shone about them]; and they dreaded with great dread. And the angel said to them, Do not ye dread; for lo! I preach to you a great joy [lo! soothly I evangelize to you a great joy], that shall be to all people. For a Saviour is born to day to you, that is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.”

The angel tells the shepherds that a token is to appear in the form of a newborn child – one they can find in a manger. Immediately after he speaks, a “knighthood” of heavenly beings appears to praise the Lord. Likely the shepherds are still in dread, but they decide to check out the message of the angel. They speak among themselves, move together to seek out the Christ Child. Only when they find Him do they believe the news of “a great joy that shall be to all people.”

“The Sign Of God’s Favor” (Luke 2: 11 – 14, ESV) by Carley Evans


The baby in the manger is the sign from God which Israel awaits. Prophets through the ages are speaking of this event, and when it comes an angel announces to shepherds that in the city of David, the Christ is born.

The good news is for the world, but specifically for men and women upon whom God’s favor rests.

Some protest that God should not show favor, but He has from the beginning. He favors Mary to carry the Christ child; He favors Joseph to be Jesus’ earthy father. The angel appears to specific shepherds in fields nearby. Jesus Himself chooses the twelve disciples from among many others.

And, all know that Israel is God’s chosen nation, which emerges from one man, Abram who is also chosen by God from among others.

The baby in the manger, wrapped in cloths, is the sign of God’s favor not only to the Israelite but to the Gentile beyond.

And suddenly with the angel is a heavenly host praising God.

“The Good News” (Luke 2: 8 – 11, ESV) by Carley Evans


Shepherds live out in the fields with their sheep. They stand watch over each and every one of them. The night is long, dark. Perhaps they take turns sleeping.

Angels appear, announcing the birth of a Savior in the city of David — David, who is also a shepherd, one of some note.

The angels come to humble men in the midst of their occupation. (Jesus does this often. He finds Peter the fisherman in the midst of fishing, Matthew the tax collector in the midst of collecting taxes. He interrupts lives, saying ‘Come, follow Me.’)

The angels interrupt the shepherds, announcing that a Savior is born to them. The Savior is come to save them.

This is Jesus’ message. He tells us He has come to save us from ourselves, from our sins, from our separation from God, from death itself. This is the good news.