The Bible says that there were shepherds living out in the fields near Bethlehem, and “on the night Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:8-11).
Why is the coming of the baby Jesus good enough news for angels to sing about it? Here’s my Top Five:
5. Since Jesus, Emmanuel, is ‘God with us,’ I have found him in all the places where I’ve lived: Seattle, Tokyo, Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, and Ohio, and all the places where I’ve traveled. In my loneliest moments, when I sought him, he was there with the reminder:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I don not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
4. He forgives me when I am selfish, unloving, impatient, unkind–shall I go on?
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’ (Luke 5:20).
3. When I was an unhappy prisoner of my inability to forgive someone else, Jesus’ words gave me a new sense of perspective and set me free:
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye’ (Luke 6:41-42).
2. Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection mean that I could stand by my beloved Poppy’s coffin, and those of my wonderful grandmothers, and be assured that their lifeless faces were not the end of the story. I will be with them again!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
1. Jesus has promised to come back, and ‘He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth’ (Psalm 96: 13). When this sounds scary, I just think about days at school when kids arrive hungry, when bad words jump to their lips, when they can hurt someone and not be the slightest bit sorry, when their minds or bodies have been damaged by parents’ actions before they were even born–on days like that, I am glad, like the Psalmist, that our mighty Savior, Jesus, will come back and make all things right again:
Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. . . .
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice (Psalm 96:2-6, 10; Psalm 97:1).
I think the angels had it right, don’t you?
What are your Top Five?