In this song, you can hear the story building. Shepherds hanging with their sheep, just seated around a fire probably. An angel of the Lord comes down and they are scared. Who wouldn’t be? Angels don’t speak to shepherds, angels speak to important people. They did not know one single person to whom God had spoken. The silence of God had been 400 years. They may remember stories of old where God spoke to people, but this was different. It was them now. The angel tells them he has come to bring good news that will be of great joy to them. After they’ve collected themselves, the angel speaks hope to them.
Remember King David. God promised that his ultimate king would come through the line of David. The angel comes to announce the fulfillment of this prophecy – to shepherds. This is such a God move, isn’t it? We don’t expect it. We barely even want it to be true. We want to think God would announce the arrival of his son on earth in much more dramatic fashion, but he simply doesn’t work that way. Their Savior had just been born and they were the first invited to see the baby.
“All glory be to God on high/And to the earth be peace/Good will henceforth from God to man/Begin and never cease”
This is the kingdom Jesus ushers in on that night – one where God gets the glory, one where peace reigns on earth, one where good will passes from God to man and flows between each of us – where it begins and does not stop.
We love because he first loved us.