Few writers can communicate the wonder of God’s Word as deeply as Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Her love for Scripture is evident—and infectious. As the Advent season draws near, I want to experience it with fresh awe, don’t you? Nancy’s new devotional, The First Songs of Christmas is an invitation to open our Bibles and remember that we have something to sing about. What a joy to welcome Nancy to the farm’s front porch today…
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 2:10)
The Roman establishment had a version of what it considered “good news.” When its officials proclaimed the great deeds of the Roman emperor Augustus, they often used a Greek term as part of the inscription: euangelion (yoo-ang-GHEL-ee-on), which is translated gospel or good news.
And it was good news—for Augustus and his cronies. Good news for Rome and its citizens.
“But the birth of Jesus Christ is not good news just for some people. Nor is it good news only for those in pleasant, desirable circumstances. “
But when God proclaimed “good news” by angelic messenger to a band of shepherds up the road a piece from Bethlehem, it was news that mattered to “all the people,” not only those who belonged to a certain ethnicity or class or political persuasion. Compared to what filtered down to the masses from the Roman propaganda mill, the news of Jesus’ birth was a gospel entirely different—a difference maker for people who hadn’t heard any real “good news” in a really long time.
Like the shepherds, for instance. Shepherding was low on the totem pole of desirable vocations. These men gutted out their hard labors each day with little payback to cheer them or to provide much hope for the future.
Shepherds were relatively anonymous. Their names don’t even appear in the Bible’s inspired telling of the Christmas account. They had no power or influence—poor and uneducated, unskilled for most other kinds of work that might have earned them a chance to climb from the bottom rungs of the social ladder.
“The song of the angel is good news that eclipses and overshadows whatever else is happening in your life right now.”
And that wasn’t all. When people would go to offer their sacrifices in observance of God’s instructions for obtaining forgiveness for sins, shepherds weren’t usually able to attend. They were always keeping an eye on the sheep. And because they couldn’t often celebrate these Sabbath’s they were regarded as outcasts in Israel, ceremonially unclean.
And the truth is, all people can fit that job description. Maybe one of those people at this particular holiday time is you. I realize, as the holiday season approaches, that not every home is bursting with joy and excitement.
As exhilarating as the Christmas season can feel at certain life stages, it can also land with a seasonally enhanced thud of pain, grief, and loneliness when you find yourself dealing with hard things.
But the birth of Jesus Christ is not good news just for some people. Nor is it good news only for those in pleasant, desirable circumstances. The song of the angel is good news that eclipses and overshadows whatever else is happening in your life right now. It’s what “all the people” need, for all the things that threaten to deprive us of joy.
Any other kind of good news is only temporary, subject to being upended by bad news and always open to someone else’s interpretation. But this Advent season, stand amazed with the shepherds at news that’s good for everyone, able to counter even the worst case of disappointment or despair.
Write down as many examples of blessing from the good news of Jesus’ coming into the world as you can think of. Keep adding to your list throughout the week, finding your joy in His gospel this Christmas.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.
She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan. Discover more from Nancy at ReviveOurHearts.com.
Focus on the greatness, glory, and goodness of God this season with Nancy’s new 31-day Advent devotional, The First Songs of Christmas.
[ Our humble thanks to Moody for their partnership in today’s devotion ]