• Chrissie Angell

An Unconventional Announcement

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “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.” Luke 2:8-11 (ESV)

Luke 2:8-14 describes a birth announcement that even Pinterest couldn’t dream up! Christ’s birth was announced to humankind by an angel who proclaimed the news to shepherds

of all people. The way God chose to announce Christ’s birth set the stage for why He was born.

Why did God send His angels to shepherds to announce the Messiah’s birth? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to announce the birth of the King of kings to a king? Shepherds were outcasts. They were lowly people on the fringe of society. Conventional wisdom tells us they should have been the last to know.

Yet, God chose them to be the first to know, and I can’t help but think it was to drive home the point of who Christ came to save. He did not come to save only the “elite” among us because the limited confines of human hierarchy do not bind Him. Instead, He came to break the norms and offer hope for all people. The shepherds, the lowly outcasts of society, were exactly who God wanted His heavenly army to announce the Messiah’s birth to because it helped emphasize the point that Christ was born for all people (Luke 2:10).

As I’ve pondered the account in Luke 2, something new stood out to me. After the angel announced Christ’s birth, he was joined by a multitude of hosts who cried out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13, 14, ESV).

Did you know that “host” in vs. 13 means an army? A single angel announced that Christ, the Commander of the Lord’s army, had been born. Immediately after he finished the announcement, an army of angels appeared praising God and proclaiming His glory in the highest. I’ve always imagined the scene as glorious but learning that an army of angels declared God’s praises brings another image to mind—a battle cry!

Isaiah 14:12-14 gives the account of Satan’s eviction from heaven and records why he was forced to leave. “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high. . . I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13,14, (ESV). Satan was expelled from heaven because he thought he could make himself equal with God. The declaration by the army of angels in Luke 2 was a reminder to Satan that he was “cut down to the ground” (Isaiah 14:12), but God remained in His rightful position on His throne in the highest places!

This was a declaration of war! The birth of Christ Jesus ushered in the new hope of the eternal reign He will have. Christ would defeat sin and death when He rose from the grave victorious. His birth was the beginning of the end for God’s adversary, the devil, and the army of the Lord arrived to put him on notice that his time was running short!

The angels have been and continue to be part of a supernatural war playing out in the heavenly realms, and they know they will be victorious because they know Who they serve. Their cry wasn’t merely a sweet, happy little birth announcement. No, the multitude of hosts were getting worked up for battle, and they did that by praising the Most High God!

As I meditated on this passage, I remembered when the Commander of the Lord prepared another army for battle. Joshua 5 describes the divine meeting between the Commander of the Lord and Joshua. In this meeting, Joshua was told to take off his sandals in an act of worship, making it clear that He was meeting with Christ Jesus himself (Joshua 5:15).

Joshua’s army was given an unconventional battle plan. They were told to march around Jericho for seven days. For the first six days, they were simply to march. On the seventh day, the priests leading the army in the march around the city were to blow their trumpets, and the people were to give a great shout which would cause the wall to fall, giving the Israelites victory (Joshua 6:1-27).

Their obedient battle cry was all it took for God to give them victory. I can’t help but correlate the two accounts in Scripture. The Old Testament’s shouts led to the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Canaan over to the Israelites; that echoes through the New Testament account when the multitude of hosts praise God for His fulfillment of another promise, the birth of the Messiah.

After all, the Messiah was their commander. I can’t help but think they saw Christ put himself on the frontline when He came to earth in human form, and they were worked up in a fervor of excitement and energy as they prepared to follow Him into battle!

Luke 2 is a birth announcement, a promise of hope for all of humanity, and a battle cry all in one! A bit unconventional, perhaps, but not surprising from the Most High God, a constant mystery that unravels slowly throughout His Word.

The Savior was born, and the adversary was put on notice—there is only One worthy of the highest throne, and victory belongs to Him!

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