One of the clearest articulations I’ve ever heard about the meaning of Christmas comes from an unlikely conversation between an angel and some shepherds. I say “unlikely” because most people don’t have conversations with angels, and shepherds usually aren’t the first recipients of world-changing news.

However, in Luke’s gospel, we get to overhear one of the most bizarre and consequential conversations in all of history—one that clarifies the meaning of Christmas and the mission of the church.

First, the angel brings “good news of great joy”—that today has been born a “Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).

Next, the angel articulates the mission of the shepherds (and the church). This good news is “for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Every socioeconomic group. Every nation. And every generation. And it’s our mission to spread this good news to the ends of the earth.