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Christmas: it’s Good News

I did it again this week! On a whim, I typed the words “good news” into the search engine of my computer and was directed to 860,000,000 internet web sites.

One of the best is a site called The Good News Network. It is entirely devoted to collecting good news stories from around the world.

If you are wearied by the passing parade of bad news stories in newspapers and on TV, you might like to connect to The Good News Network. It will warm your heart!

Here’s one of the stories posted this week.

An Australian man noticed a swerving tractor-trailer truck on the other side of the road on his way to work.

He turned his car around, sped up to the truck and confirmed his suspicion that the driver was in trouble – slumped over the wheel.

The man parked his car, ran toward the truck and climbed inside it to pull the hand brake.
An ambulance officer called to the scene said, “In my 10 years in the service I have never seen or heard of anything like this.

“He is an absolute lifesaver. Even though the truck was not travelling at a great speed, it is an enormous vehicle.

“Me and my ambulance partner had to climb on board this huge truck while it was stationary, once, and it was hard. I could not imagine how difficult it would have been while in motion.”

Long ago, John the Baptist stood on the banks of the River Jordan and proclaimed the good news, “It’s time: the Lord has come!” Luke tells us that John “went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3)

The language John used seems harsh and unrelenting, and yet, Luke describes this preaching as “Good News”!

In dealing with the realities of everyday life, it’s unusual to find anyone who wants to hear the bad news.

From time to time I have been in that daunting situation of having to be the bearer of bad news, one of those things in ministry that we would rather avoid, but have to do.

We all know that in tragic circumstances platitudes, however pious, are trite and inappropriate.
Yet, as those entrusted with the gospel, the “good news”, it is our privilege and responsibility to share the truth and power of God’s love and grace.

The gospel is good news.

I have always been puzzled by those who say we have to tell people the bad news of the gospel before we can share the good news.

How can the gospel ever be bad news? That is a fundamental contradiction!

From the very beginning, the message regarding Jesus was good news.

During these weeks leading up to Christmas we remember and celebrate again the coming of Christ.
It is a time to be focused, in heart and spirit, in worship and in witness, on our identity and purpose as followers of Jesus.

The apostle Paul wrote, echoing the words of the prophet Isaiah, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” (Romans 10:15, c.f. Isaiah 52:7).

Bruce Prewer develops this theme in his book More Australian Psalms:

How beautiful among the mountains
are the feet of gospel speakers,
who proclaim reconciliation and peace,
the wonderful news of liberation,
declaring the incomparable good news
that God has come among us.

The God who comes to us in Christ is not Father Christmas, but Immanuel, “God with us”, who demands repentance, offers forgiveness, embraces us in relationship and leads us into faith.

This is the source of our joy. It’s Good News! And it’s meant to be shared.