by Rev. Mark Caldwell, FUMC Ft. Lauderdale, FL
First, read Luke 2:8-20
Depending on the section of the news that you are reading, a report can be interpreted as either “good” or “bad." A rainy forecast is bad news for a family going to the beach but good news to the farmer whose crops are in need of the rainfall. A story from the sports section will either be good news or bad news depending on which team is the team you cheer for.
From early on, Christians spoke of a good news that came from Jesus. If asked, how would your headline depicting the good news of Jesus read? We could say that death was defeated or sins were washed clean. Perhaps we could look at the paradoxes of sight to the blind and strength to the weak. Don’t forget that we could highlight a way for the lost and a savior for the oppressed.
This story of Jesus is just the beginning of a multitude of good news headlines for the world. I wonder if your day had headlines, what would they say? Spending time with God and getting clarity on the ebbs and flows of life’s uncertainties helps us to understand the story that God is helping us to write.
There are still so many news stories that are discouraging and depressing that it is good to know that we have a source for some good news. It’s in Christmas and beyond. It’s a narrative of God and when we realize that the hand leading us through life is the same hand that his helping to write the story, then we can see even in the dark chapters a reality of Emmanuel -- “God with us.” I couldn’t think of a happier ending.
“Best of all, God is with us.”
Today, we focus on the story of the shepherds and the angels found in the gospel of Luke. In this story, we hear of the poor shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem and the way they ran to find the baby boy. We also hear about the way they spread the good news of Jesus’ birth as the song says, “over the hills and everywhere.”
Think of yourselves as shepherds tonight. Read the story of the shepherds together in Luke 2:8-20. Then, get some shepherd staffs (a.k.a. candy canes) and attach a hand written note to each one. Maybe you can write, “Good News! Jesus Loves You” and leave one in your mailbox for the postman. Maybe you can attach one to an invitation to your church’s Christmas Eve services. Maybe you can bring a bouquet of shepherd staffs to someone who might need some cheering up.
How can you at Christmas share the gospel, or good news, with others?