We all know the story of the fateful Christmas night when the angel brought good news of great joy to the shepherds tending their flock in the fields. Far beyond mere happiness, it was a time of overwhelming celestial joy. What was that joy all about? Just as the angels and shepherds had a reason for their joy, so do we—Jesus.
The angels who served as messengers that night were joyous because the event that God had planned from the beginning of time was finally happening. Jesus had existed since before the beginning, long before He was born on earth, and the events that would occur throughout His life were already set in motion .The angels knew His plan was unfolding, and redemption was coming for all those who would follow Him. Knowing the results of His life, the angels were glad to share the news of His birth.
The shepherds were excited by the the announcement because they learned that the gift of Jesus was for everyone. Religion at the time was very exclusionary, and the shepherds lived a dirty and labor-intensive nomadic life. They would have expected to be unwelcome in any houses of worship around them. Their job and economic means made them the lowest of the low classes. But the message from the angels were delivered and directed to them. They were shocked and overjoyed to realize that Jesus was for them.
Often we have a false idea of the nativity, and picture it as a sterile, serene, and spacious scene. We forget it was full of dirt, animals, and unwashed people. It is no coincidence that Jesus was born in those conditions— it was so that any could come to Him, no matter their station in life. Is there some imperfection in your life that is keeping you from Jesus? There is no life so “messy” that Jesus would not forgive. We have all sinned and fallen short of God, but if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you can be saved despite your circumstances. Because of Jesus we can have joy!