Once again, the angelic messenger says, “Do not be afraid”, this repeated message to God’s people that his drawing near is a good thing rather than something to fear.
The good news is that the long-promised Messiah has arrived. After years and centuries of waiting and longing, he is here.
As often is the case, a new birth brings great joy.
And it brings great joy to all people. News about this child who was born will spread, in time, beyond the hills surrounding Bethlehem to all people. First through Jesus himself, and then through the church that springs from the public ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. God will send this good news out, commissioning first the apostles and then all who believe, to tell all people about Jesus.
In a world where so many of us are afraid, and so many of us are waiting for things to change, good news and great joy are often in short supply. The news about Jesus is no less good today than it was that day the angel first proclaimed it to the shepherds. The joy no less great when people come to believe in who this Jesus is and what he has done.
May this gospel truth about Jesus spread from our lives this Advent, beyond our homes and churches into the streets of our villages, towns and cities. May the light of Christ flow like a river, illuminating the darkness. May Christ’s coming to us afresh drive out our fear, and may we overflow with fresh joy and fresh hope as we worship Christ in proclaiming his coming to all peoples.