The Angel told the shepherds “don’t be afraid.” Instead of fear the Angel had good news for them! Luke 2:11 reports the Angel’s words: “I bring you good news…” Notice first of all that what 17 good newsthe Angel was about to proclaim was “good news.” He prepared them for it by telling them he had good news. He didn’t have bad news, he had good news! That was to calm their fears. Not only was this supposed to calm their fear, it was also intended to build anticipation for what the headline would be. A preacher named William Taylor went to California in the gold rush of 1849 and settled in San Francisco. There was no church in San Francisco in those days and there wasn’t much interest in building one. Gold fever had infected everyone and that’s all they thought about. Nobody wanted to hear a preacher. So, on Sunday morning, he would roll a wooden barrel down to a street corner, climb up on it, and shout, “What’s the news?” Then as people gathered around to hear what he had to say, he would always begin with, “Thank God, my brethren, I have good news for you this morning!” And he would proceed to preach. He would proclaim the good news.

We are all afraid of death and dying to some degree. As one writer put it, “You have no hope, you have no assurance, you have no peace. There is good news for you, and the good news is this, that way back (2000) years ago God sent His Son into the world because He realized that man could not save himself, but was hopeless, utterly depraved and helpless, and therefore needed a Saviour. And so He sent, in the fullness of time, His Precious Son who took upon Himself the responsibility of a lost world that was plunging into an eternal hell, and bore our sins in His body on the Tree. He assumed our responsibility and went to Calvary and there He died for all those who had fallen in Adam. Now the good news is this, that Christ died according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He arose again, and that today there is salvation, freedom from want and fear and oppression, freedom from death and freedom from the specter of eternity, to all those who will put their trust in Him. It is so simple. That is what makes it good news.”

Another writer compared the pronouncement of the Good News to that of a prison inmate on death row getting a personal call from the governor of the state. It went, “Son, I have good news for you. Yes—take a minute to catch your breath. Listen now—your death sentence has been commuted. And not only that, but by the authority vested in my office, I offer you today a full and complete pardon. You are a free man. Wait—there’s more. Not only am I setting you free, I’ve made arrangements to adopt you into my own family. We have a room waiting for you in the governor’s mansion and you’ll always have a place at our table. Welcome home, son.” This author goes on to say, “I don’t know about you, but I’d call that amazing grace!”