Good News in a Messy World

by Sharon Marr

(Based on Luke 2:1-20)

A Christmas day reflection for the young and not so young.

This has been a very different, very messy and very hard year, Covid 19 sweeping through and changing our world, for adults and children alike.   So scary … we didn’t see it coming.   So many people throughout the world have died, so many families now without work.  All this frightens a lot of us doesn’t it?   Part of us takes comfort that we live in New Zealand, far away from trouble spots, but deep down we realize just how fragile this bubble we find ourselves in is. There is nowhere to hide from this deadly disease. The news seems all bad. But is it really?

Here we are today, in spite of all this turmoil; we pause, and come together, to celebrate Christmas? What draws us? Is it the Christmas tree with its blinking lights, or maybe it’s the beautiful music, or perhaps it’s Christmas dinner with all the yummy treats. Maybe it’s the parties or visiting with family and friends. For many people the best thing about Christmas is the presents — both the ones we give and the ones we receive.

You know, sometimes we get so drawn into all of the decorations, lights, parties, and presents that we might miss the real Christmas.

We can get so caught up thinking about ourselves we almost miss out on the most wonderful, precious, extravagant gift of love from God to us, his son Jesus.

In our Gospel reading today, remember, the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people!  To you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour who is the Messiah, the Lord”.

And what a surprise to find that the Saviour of the world was a tiny baby, lying in a bed of straw!  A lot of folk then were expecting a warrior king, a superman, a super hero to save them from the Romans who had invaded their country and were making their lives hard and sad.  Just as the world today awaits for a vaccination to rid us of coronavirus.  But, no.  No superhero.  Instead, the good news was that God sent his son, the baby Jesus, for us all; that is, for all those people two thousand years ago, even the Romans, and everyone who has ever lived since, everyone alive now and even those yet to be born.  Jesus came to show us a way to live, the best way to live, loving God, loving everyone, loving ourselves.  Jesus came bringing love. Love that can conquer both tyranny and disease, when we demand justice and mercy for all.

It is that love that draws us here today, to offer our thanks and praise  and worship to God who loves us so much.  The shepherds’ lives were changed forever on that night.  And unless the Christmas story changes our lives too, we have missed its real meaning and purpose. 

So let us take the hope, the peace, the joy and the love, the gifts of God that fill our hearts this day, to our families, into our community, into this troubled, hurting, messy world, and be the good news to all. Just as the shepherds did 2000 years ago.   Amen.

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