The angel said, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2.10).
It is said that, during World War II, the warring parties ceased hostilities on Christmas Day and met between their lines to play a game of cricket. I can’t check the source, and I have never heard of Germans playing cricket.
Whatever its truth, the story is a reminder that in Bethlehem long ago something happened of far greater significance than the War – that the Good News of what God has done is infinitely more important than any of our different and conflicting aspirations. There were combatants on both sides who affirmed this same conviction.
What good news do we want to hear at the present time – that terrorist leaders have been brought to justice? That would bring a sense of relief to many who are anxious about world-wide terrorism. For first-century people, would it have been the collapse of the Roman Empire?
These are just little "blips" in human history when compared with what God has done. What God has done has long been rated such important good news that we reckon time as BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, in the year of the Lord). These days secularists want to mask this significance by talking about CE (common era) and BCE (before the common era). We recognise that Pope Gregory XIII was out in his reckoning – Jesus was probably born in 4 BC. Nevertheless, whenever we write 2001, we are acknowledging the major significance of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s Good News is "for all the people." We want something to deal with effects. God’s action deals with the root problem – that’s why it is for everyone.
What are our pressure-points – and depression-points? What are the root causes of our fears and anxieties?
We may be helped by counselling or by some pill or another. But our essential need is a restored relation with our Maker. That’s why God sent his Son, Jesus. Jesus could truly say, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14.6). There was no other way. He is the only way.
And it’s why the Good News of Christmas is for everybody. Take it in! Share it round!
Prayer: Dear Lord, there are so many very good reasons to be anxious – world news, uncertainties about health and well-being, questions about the future… In the middle of all our anxiety, you have given us the best possible good news to bring us back right with you again. Your good news overwhelms our fears. Lord Jesus, we welcome you! Help us to share the good news with others. Amen.
Little by little
we see the world
around us -
Little by little
we see our life
in the midst
for all people.
to rescue us,
to bring us life
Lord Jesus -
© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin Blue Care devotions, 4 December 2001