The angel says, “I am bringing you good news of great joy.” Who wouldn’t be excited to receive such an announcement? Everyone can stand a little good news – a promotion, an engagement, a health crisis resolved…we long to hear something positive, to rejoice with another person and share in their happiness. A baby certainly is that. But still, while the shepherds might have gained some momentary warmth and good feeling from the birth of a baby in the nearby town of Bethlehem, it would not ordinarily be enough to take them from their duties in the field, even if announced by angels and heavenly light.
Two small words in the next verse reveal the difference: “To you.”
To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
The angel did not appear in the middle of town, or to the governor, or to the priests of the temple. Instead, the news was shared first with a group of shepherds, lowly and rough, hardly the typical recipients of royal decree and heavenly proclamation…but then, Mary herself was lowly and humble, an unexpected carrier of the Savior. But God chose Mary to bear Jesus, and God chose to share this good news with the shepherds of the field, because the great joy is for all of us to share. “To you” a child is born – and that means you, and me, and all of us. Jesus comes as Lord not to a select few, but to all who receive Him in their hearts. Rejoice!