Good News of Great Joy


By Brian Hammons

I love Christmas. The sights, the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings. Special choir music, caroling to neighbors, and Scripture messages of good news. Reflecting upon blessings of the year, giving to help those in need, and planning for a new year ahead. 
Of course, Christmas doesn’t bring happy memories for everyone. And certainly there are many extra pressures we all feel during this season. Sometimes the biggest blessing of Christmas is when it’s over! Why is it that the season of great joy is not always joyful?
As Christians, we celebrate the essence of Christmas – the good news of God in Jesus Christ. And what great news that is! But in all honesty, I often go through the season and all the special activities with less joy than I should have. Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever wonder why? Maybe we’re just trying to pack too much in and satisfy too many people’s demands upon our time and resources. Maybe we’ve grown too complacent, a little inattentive to some of the real needs all around us while not recognizing how God’s good news comes into our world and speaks to all of us today.
So maybe this year we can slow down, embrace simplicity and let God bring a little more peace to the world around us. And maybe we can be more open to people in our lives – to their cares, needs, joys, sorrows, victories. Maybe that will let God’s good news resonate with a little more meaning. And maybe, just maybe, our lives can somehow show the great joy that comes from God’s Spirit, better witnessing to the good news that changes lives. Bearing fruit. Overflowing with hope. I’ll work on that this Christmas – will you join me?
Thank you for your encouragement to people you meet during this season. Thank you for hearing the good news and for hearing God’s mission to lead people to actively follow Jesus Christ as you pass along that good news. And thank you for the great joy that you and your congregations have as you bear fruit, both this season and in the year to come.
This Christmas, may God remind us all of the good news in fresh ways that bring great joy, making disciples of Jesus Christ and changing lives through God’s spirit in our work together. Merry Christmas!