Good news!

How do people announce the birth of a child? Usually it’s letters or notes or someone standing up in church. I know someone who recited a poem to announce that his wife was pregnant . . . and it would have been great if he’d been any good at poetry, but he wasn’t. So it was just funny. But when Jesus was born, God had a unique way of letting everyone know about it.

Today’s passage comes from Luke 2 again, this time verses 8 through 11.

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

Talk about a really exciting way to announce that a child has been born! Wow.

This is another well-known passage, and there are a lot of practical applications that can be drawn from it. Most notably I think is the fact that the angels came to shepherds, who were the dregs of Jewish society, to announce Jesus’ birth. I think that says something about God.

God wanted everyone to know about Jesus’ birth. It wasn’t some secret that He wanted kept. It wasn’t some club that only members could know about.

I mean even the angel said that He brought good news that would bring great joy to all people. Not just some people.

So if the birth of Jesus is something that should bring joy to all people, why does it seem like people are scared to talk about it? I know there’s the whole issue about being offensive and about sharing the holidays, but let’s be real here, folks. If we want to have a politically correct holiday, we need to get rid of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa too. It’s not just Christmas that should get the boot.

Religion has turned Christmas into a tradition that only “Christians” celebrate, and that’s wrong. That’s one of the reasons I really hate religion. Religion says it’s all right to be a club. Religion encourages cliques. And it doesn’t matter what your religion is. They’re all the same.

Jesus has never been exclusive. He came here for all people. And maybe announcing that offends people. I don’t mean to offend people, but that’s what Christmas is about. Celebrating the birth of Jesus. Celebrating the Hope that God brought into our world.

And that’s something that all people need to hear, whether it offends them or not. After all, it’s good news. So don’t be afraid to tell people why you celebrate. Do it nicely, of course. Thumping people on the head with a Bible has never been effective in helping people understand what Jesus did for them. But don’t shrink back either because you’re afraid.

Jesus birth is good news. And if people would listen, they would receive great joy from it, no matter who they are and where they come from.