[#pictureAdvent] December 22: GOOD NEWS

20 Dec 22 Good News-01.jpg

By: Annette Johnson
Director of Children and Family Ministries, First UMC
 Gainesville, FL

First, read Romans 16:25-27

When I was pregnant with my fifth child, we decided that, unlike in our other pregnancies, we wanted to know the gender of the baby ahead of time. Some sweet friends asked to throw us a "gender reveal party". So, following my ultrasound we passed the sealed envelope on to our friends who proceeded to plan the shin dig. 

The day of the big reveal came, and surrounded by family and friends, our other 4 children were each handed a large black balloon. Armed with safety pins and instructions to pop on the count of three, our children nervously awaited the moment of the big announcement. 1-2-3 we all shouted and as the balloons popped we watched blue confetti fly through the air. "Good news! It's a boy! A brother!" Were the shouts that rang through the air.

 In that moment, I glanced over to see my daughter, my only daughter, begin to shrink down. You see, what seemed like good news did not seem so happy to her. Her greatest hopes and dreams were for a baby sister. With 3 brothers already, a new squishy sister seemed like the answer to her prayers. 

I went over to her and quietly whispered in her ear "guess what? Now you will never have to share your room with a sibling!" Her eyes lit up and she began to laugh as the tears were even still running down her face.  In that moment, I tried to help her sweet 7 year-old perspective shift a bit. She was not getting what she expected, but none the less- it was "good news". Four years later, she would tell you she couldn't imagine life without her 4 brothers, and she loves being the only girl. As she grew to adjust to her new normal she found the joy in the every day. While the package came wrapped differently then what she thought she wanted, the gift was good all along. 

I think this is how it must have been for the people of Jesus's time. When they heard the words "I bring you good news of great joy!" and they anticipated the arrival of their Savior, their Messiah-they never in their Iwildest dreams thought that would come in the form of a lowly infant, born into a poor family.  There was no power or prestige, no royal bloodline that would help him rise to power. A change in perspective was needed. A new normal. The gift was oh so different then they dreamed, but such a good gift it was, and such a good gift He is to us today. 

Short Prayer:

All powerful God-

Shift my perspective to find the good news in the unexpected.  Let me not focus on what I may anticipate, but instead on the gifts I was never even looking for. Thank you for the good news that Jesus was, and is, and always will be. 

Amen

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1. Where in your life has God give you "good news" in an unexpected  manner? 
2. Are you searching for a Savior that doesn't exist? How can you shift your perspective to see Jesus for who he really is? 
3.  What place in your life can you shift your perspective to see good news, where perhaps you previously saw none?