The announcement of the Advent of Christ came suddenly to the shepherds that night. While it came suddenly, it should not to be understood as unexpectedly, for the prophets had long foretold this event; that these shepherds were mindful of those prophecies at the moment, we cannot be sure, but they paid attention to this announcement!
The angel announced the birth of the Savior. Good news for all people indeed, for all were in need of a Savior. Why? Because mankind was in bondage to sin and its consequences. Mankind needed to be reconciled to a holy God, and though the sacrificial system atoned temporarily for sins, they did not remove the guilt (Hebrew 10:1-5). Now, there was born a Savior, the Christ of God!
As a sign of this great event, the angel said that they would find the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. The response of the shepherds was immediate, “…let us go now…and see…”(vs 15). How different would be the reaction of Herod’s priests in Matthew 2, who when asked where the Christ should be born, cared not to trouble themselves to travel the few miles to see for themselves!
Upon their arrival, the message was confirmed by the sight of the babe found just as the angel had said. This was news too good to keep to themselves, so the shepherds made it known abroad. What had been told them, was confirmed as said to them and what they had seen and heard, they told to others…and celebrated the news as it is stated in verse 20…”the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” No fake news here!
There is a reason to celebrate the birth of the Savior – it signified God’s intervention into a sinful world in order to make a difference. This is Good News and deserves to be shared everywhere!
The author of “Go Tell It On the Mountain” is unknown, but it has its origins as an African-American melody, first published in 1907. May we be as excited about this news so as to be bold enough to “go and tell”.