At the Savior’s birth, an angel of the Lord appeared in the darkened Bethlehem countryside, startling shepherds with this now-familiar pronouncement: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10).
A few days later, an elderly prophet named Simeon took the newborn Savior into his arms and exclaimed, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:30-32).
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For centuries, God’s redemptive plan had been focused on the Hebrew people. He revealed Himself to the Israelites through His prophets, signs, wonders and the Scriptures. At the same time, prophets had foretold the birth of a Messiah who would deliver and rescue all mankind. (See Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6.)
At last, that day had come in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became the Son of Man that he might bear the penalty and guilt of every man, Jew and Gentile. When we hear the Christmas story, we should be reminded that multitudes around the world have never had an opportunity to hear those good tidings of great joy.
This past year, I have had the privilege of proclaiming the glorious Gospel to teeming crowds in India and throngs of youth in Canada. Thousands repented of their sins and committed their lives to Jesus as Christ’s message was preached in Brazil, Japan, and most recently in the Baltic country of Latvia.
We are planning to begin 2011 with a Crusade in Haiti to mark the anniversary of last January’s devastating earthquake, and we will follow that with a Crusade in the west African nation of Liberia.
In a span of 15 months, God will have given the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association the opportunity to declare the Good News of salvation to people on five continents—Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
This is the Great Joy and the Good News: Christ has come into the world to save all who believe from their sins and eternal separation from Him. This is what makes the Christmas we celebrate so wonderful. In the city of David, 2,000 years ago, “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11) was born so that He “will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
God gave His Son because He “so loved the world” (John 3:16). Heaven will be populated by people from every tribe and every tongue, because the blood of Christ cleanses all who come to Him through faith and repentance.
Thank you for your prayers and support of our worldwide work of evangelism and discipleship. We earnestly and passionately desire to reach as many possible with the saving Gospel of Christ.
All have sinned. All need a Savior. All can come “just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me.”
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