And the angel said, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:10-11). That angel preached to the shepherds! The angel handed over Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. He, in himself, is the "good news of great joy." Truly, there is no reason to fear. Behold, God has in Christ reconciled the world to himself (2 Cor. 5:19).
That angel preached to the shepherds! The shepherds' ears were open to hear such preaching. They said among themselves, "Let us go and see what the Lord has made known to us" (cf. Lk. 2:15). So they got up and went. There in the manger they found the baby Jesus, God in the flesh, their God come to them... come down from heaven to them. The shepherds went out glorifying and praising God.
Preachers, like those angels, are God's messengers. They make the announcements of good news... news of great joy... the Savior has come... your Savior has come. There is no more need to fear. Hearing that announcement, or even rumors that such a thing might be true, you, like those shepherds, go in order to find yourself in the presence of Jesus the Christ. There, in the body of Christ gathered around the pulpit, the font, and the altar, you hear how God himself came down from heaven, took on flesh, so that you would have a Savior. How could such news not draw glory and praise from your lips for such a great and loving God?
The Institute of Lutheran Theology brings you such greetings: You have a Savior. His name is Jesus. He is the Christ, God come in flesh, so that you may not fear. May this announcement at Christmastide in the Year of Our Lord 2017 draw praise and glory from your lips for such a great God.
Rev. Timothy J. Swenson
Dean of Chapel
Institute of Lutheran Theology