[#pictureAdvent] December 25: GOOD NEWS

By Esther Rodríguez
Tice UMC
Fort Myers, FL

First, read Luke 2:8-20

Given the reaction people in the gospels have to angels, I think they must be some scary-looking individuals. In this particular passage we find a group of shepherds out in the fields who are “terrified” upon seeing an angel. This makes me think more of Madeleine L’Engle’s illustrations of angels as opposed to Roma Downey and Della Reese (cf. ‘Touched by an Angel’).

Appearance aside, it was a surprising visit. Who talks to homeless shepherds anyway? What could he possibly be coming with? He tells them to fear not, for he comes with good news.

The news they were told was so good that they had to ‘run and tell that’ to others right away.

The news of Jesus’ birth was good news.

I’ve been wondering lately if people think of Christianity as a religion that bears good news; or if Christians are perceived as bearers of good news.

During a prayer walk our church had recently, we were leaving on folks’ doors a note that simply said that we’d be praying for them that week. During our walk we encountered folks on the way.

One particular man upon hearing that we were from a church yelled to us that he didn’t want to hear anything, and he power-walked away. I wonder if he thought we were coming with good news. I wish I had the astuteness at the time to, maybe, shout after him with great excitement,

“I don’t know what you’ve heard before, but we come with good news!” People ran to Jesus, after all, and after an encounter with him they often ran to tell of the experience.

Do we have a reputation of bringing bad news? Oppressive news? Or liberating news? News of transformation?

Do we come with news of a god who tolerates people, at best, or who nitpicks rules and is affiliated with earthly political parties?

Or news that God has come down and is in the midst of mess and suffering. A God who is not okay with injustice and oppression. A God who desires peace and fullness of life for all persons.

A God who promises to be with us even when we die and beyond. That is good news, indeed!

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. Who do you think would be the shepherds of our day — those that no one goes tosee?

2. When you think of sharing the Gospel message, do you think of yourself as comingwith good news or another kind of news?

3. What does the news of Jesus’ birth mean to/for you?