On most of my thirty-plus Christmases, I’ve heard the Christmas Gospel shared in the traditional language of the King James Version of the Bible from Luke chapter 2.
The Lord’s angel proclaimed to Bethlehem’s shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 KJV)
The angel messenger said that a Savior has been born “unto you.”
So who does this include? Christ the Savior was born for these hardscrabble shepherds, but they realized that this Good News was not just for them but for “all people” as the angel told them. Before they returned to their vigil in the fields, the shepherds told the amazing message to others around town, and then they “returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” (2:20).
The shepherds spread the word because it was the sort of news that they couldn’t keep bottled up! Jesus, the Messiah, was born for them and for all peoples and nations. He was born “unto” ancient people, future people, and twenty-first century people.
The Christmas angel’s words echo those of the prophet Isaiah from centuries earlier: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV). Each and every child is a wonderful blessing and a gift from the Lord. And what a special gift is the One born “unto us” to save us from sin and the sorrows of this sinful world!
Whatever your Christmas celebration will look like in this very different year, whether it is a quiet one spent at home or whether you’ll be able to gather with loved ones and a church family, the Good News of Christmas has not changed: unto you, unto us, and unto me a Savior has been born – Christ the Lord!
In closing, I’ll share with you the Good News of Christmas through the words of the Christmas carol, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” by Edmund Sears. Verse three seems so appropriate this year as the words speak directly unto “you, beneath your heavy load.”
1 It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to all,
From heav’n’s all-gracious king.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
2 Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heav’nly music floats
O’er all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hov’ring wing,
And ever o’er its babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.
3 All you, beneath your heavy load,
By care and guilt bent low,
Who toil along a dreary way
With painful steps and slow:
Look up, for golden is the hour,
Come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring you peace;
Of Him the angels sing.
4 For lo, the days have come to pass
By prophets seen of old,
When down into the circling years
Came Christ as was foretold.
His word of peace shall to the earth
God’s ancient promise bring,
And all who take this gift will hear
The song the angels sing.