Angelic announcements bookend the conception and birth of the Messiah, ending with an angelic choral announcement of good news of great joy.
This is the fourteenth post in the series The Musical That Changed the World.
It was Gabriel the angel who appeared to Mary to tell her she would bear the Messiah. Nine months later an angel of the Lord, perhaps Gabriel, appears to shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem during the night.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Luke 2:8-10 ESV
The angel is not alone. He is accompanied by the Shekinah glory, the very presence of God. We see the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament as the pillar of cloud that led the children of Israel through the wilderness by day, and the great cloud that filled the Temple at it’s opening during Solomon’s reign. This very cloud surrounds these shepherds on this incredible night.
The angel brings a message of “good news of great joy.” The “good news” is the “gospel.” Gospel means good news. Isn’t that what the world needs? We are drowning in bad news all the time. It’s refreshing to get good news, and it’s even more refreshing to get news that gives us cause for joy.
But the angel’s news is cause for “great” joy. This is joy that cannot be contained, joy that motivates an immediate response, just as these shepherds who race to Bethlehem to see this Messiah child. And they can’t keep this to themselves. Great joy must be shared, and they become the first evangelists of the incarnate Son of God.
In fact, even though this is a personal address, the good news of great joy is for all people. That doesn’t mean the good news is applied to all, but it does mean that it is available for all people.
And what is this good news for all people? That is in the next verse.
Read the previous post Great Expectations Yet a Humble Birth
See the index for The Musical That Changed The World.