That night the shepherds were probably talking in the quiet and blackness of the night when all of a suddenly ...BOOM... the night sky was brilliant in light, the hillside was “ablaze” with light and a sound that they had never heard calling to them, it was the sound of an angel’s voice! It was up front, in their face, it was personal. When the Bible says the angel “appeared” it means, in Greek, “to stand at or near a specific place.” This angel wasn’t just way up in the air when he appeared, he was close to them. This same term is used as an idea of “suddenness.” So, when the angel appeared he was just suddenly there! The Light that shone around them was the radiance of the God’s Glory. That explains why it was so bright!
I can tell you I would have been afraid too! All of that happening in just a blink of an eye in the dark and quiet of the night. But the reassurance of the angel provided some help at that moment, and then what he said to the shepherds made the fears to go away and the joy to become great! The fear is replaced by the joy of the message of this angel from God Almighty.
Don’t each of us need good news once in awhile? There can be good news and there can be good news… Hearing that you do not have cancer anymore is good news, yes, great news, thank God for that. But sometimes our good news is material, like a raise or a vacation or a baby! Who can say that is not good news on the whole. But what the angel said IS Good News! The Best news ever! A Savior is born for all people. The shepherds, who are the lowliest citizens of Israel have had an angel visit with them, those whom no one wants around, and have been told the news first that God has sent His Savior, the Messiah to all people. Isn’t it strange that God would choose the humbled, lowly and unwanted to tell that Jesus was born that night!!!! The Lamb of God is being introduced to the shepherds caring for the sheep and lambs who will be sacrificed for the sins of people when they worship Almighty God in Jerusalem. How interesting is that? Jesus comes as a baby to grow into a man who will one day take away the sins of the world through His sacrifice and death for the sin of all men everywhere. Notice, this Baby, the Christ, will be good news to ALL men, not just to the Jews!
The shepherds were then told to look for the child in a manger in Bethlehem. But before they could respond the night sky was filled with a company of angels, heavenly hosts, praising God and together saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
These shepherds had heard forever that there would be a Messiah, the Christ, to come to Israel and be their Savior so they could understand some of this and respond with great joy. They did not know that this Jesus, the Christ, came to take their sin from them and not set them free from their oppressors. They would have to experience Him personally to know the truth. So, they went to this town of Bethlehem to see the Child.