The Greatest Announcement for the Greatest Birth

The greatest message was made even greater by being sent first to the least of all.

By Sheila Walsh Published on December 25, 2016

People are getting very creative with birth announcements. Last week in Church one of our pastors showed us a picture of a dad-to-be standing with two bags of ice, pointing to his wife’s belly. Yes, the message was clear, “Ice, Ice Baby!” From pictures of two adult Mickey Mouse ear hats sitting on a bench with a baby one in the middle to a disgruntled two-year-old wearing a shirt, “Only child status expiring September 2017,” we know how to make announcements.

What a stark contrast there is between the way we greet the birth of a child today and the way that Christ, the Son of God took human flesh.

If you’ve ever felt overlooked, less-than, not important enough to be noticed you might want to take another look at the night when heaven invaded earth. The very idea of the Holy One resting inside a manger is outrageous enough; but there’s more, much more. This is how Luke recalls the story,

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, 
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Luke 2:8-14 NLT

The birth announcement didn’t come to a palace or to the priests in the temple, it came to the least likely, to shepherds watching over their sheep. Shepherds were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. The religious leaders held to a strict caste system at the expense of shepherds, dung collectors and other common people. They labeled shepherds “sinners.” If you were a shepherd you couldn’t even give testimony in court, as your word had no value.

The shepherds fell to their knees — it’s the only reasonable response to this radical gift of grace.

So why did God choose to make the greatest birth announcement ever to these common men?

It had been a long time since anyone had heard from heaven. After the Old Testament closed there were four hundred years when God was silent. Now that silence was broken as the angel declared that Christ’s birth would put an axe to the root of society’s “who’s who” list. This was a new day.

“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”

Whether you were born in a penthouse or a one room apartment, to parents who welcomed your birth or brought you into a troubled life, Christ was born for you. He came to save us all. He came to those who recognize they need saving and those who don’t. The greatest gift this Christmas can’t be ordered online or found at the bottom of your tree. The gift is Christ. Will you receive the gift?

As the vast hosts of heaven joined the angel of the Lord, the shepherds fell to their knees. It’s the only reasonable response to this radical gift of grace.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!

— Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure

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