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Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him,  Luke 8:1

the things that you have seen, the blind see, the lame walk, the leapers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who not offended because of me.  Luke 7:22

I will admit that I am sort of a news “junkie.”  On the cable system that  I watch, there are over 20 different full time channels that offer a constant deluge of “news.”  When you couple that with the internet outlets for news, there literally is a countless number of resources for keeping up to date.  Also understand, we all approach news, “from a point of view”, both we who consume as well as those who distribute the news, do so through a filter.  It is that filter which we all use that allows us and/or forces us (psychologically) to put our “spin” on the incidents with which we are bombarded every day.  That “spin”, that is that meaning of the events, the importance that we place on them, the hidden agendas we seek to uncover (either within the purveyor of the news or if we are wise within ourselves as we take in the news) will greatly impact our behavior as a result of that news.

Given the nature of news broadcasting today, can you imagine some of the “teasers”, “tag lines” or “headlines” that might come from Gospel happenings:

Leaders choice of meeting location puts listener’s health at risk!  (Jesus preaching to 5000 in a remote location, where he also miraculously fed them).

Leader endorses cannibalism! (Jesus discussing the spiritual eating of His Body and Drinking of His Blood)

After quick start, poll numbers shift decidedly down for Leader! (The Israelites calling for Jesus to be crucified)

Leader’s tomb broken into, body missing! (The resurrection)

In the Gospel, we are told that Jesus Christ announced the Good News.  What is that Good News?  I think a snapshot of the Good News is given, when Jesus Christ, outlines to John’s disciples, what Jesus has been doing in his ministry.  But of course it does not stop there.  All of Jesus Christ’s teachings, His healings and of course, His Sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection are the Glad Tidings of Good News, that the Savior has come and had completed His mission.

So what is our spin on this?  In other words; what importance do we place on this news and how is it going to impact our behavior.  In answering that question, I would implore everyone to read Romans Chapter 8.  Starting off with “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…….., the chapter goes on to outline other joyous consequences of Christ’s Good News as well as proper responses, ending in an immeasurably powerful summation that starts with:  Yet in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  Know that the love in that sentence which is past tense is changed to the present tense in the very next line.

Let it be for all of us who call upon Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, that we wholly and completely accept the Good News of Jesus Christ’s Gospel.  That we choose to disregard the “spin” of this world which would have us believe that at best the Gospel is the story of a “good man” and at worst is a human made up fairy tale.  Our life here and for all eternity hinges all how receive that Good News.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we are inundated with more happenings, more opinions, and faced with making more conclusions than ever before.  As Your Son, Jesus Christ warned, as he discussed wars and rumors of wars, we would find ourselves faced with ever conflicting messages.  We thank you, Most Merciful Father, that You have given us the True Good News of the Gospel of Your Kingdom.  That You have seen fit to provide us with clear guidance to a life with communion with You which brings joy, even in the direst of circumstances.  Thank you for the never ending Love and Relationship that is spelled out in Your Message.  Give us the strength to cling to and live ever closer to the words of Love and Life which You have made known to us.  That in living that life, we would bring Praise and Honor to Your Most Holy Name we pray.  In the Name of The Son who You Gave to be Our Savior Jesus Christ.

Amen

“For behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all the people…..”  Luke 2:10

Much has been written about this wonderful proclamation by the angels to the shepherds.  It has been talked about how wonderful it is that Our Heavenly Father’s heralds would proclaim this news to the meek and lowly of society of that time, the shepherds.  It has been discussed about how the appearance of such a supernatural manifestation would cause fear to those who have the limited understanding of the world view; hence the angel’s initial urging to “do not be afraid”.  We contemplate what it must have been like to see the air filled with the heavenly host, praising God.

Yet what I want to focus on is not the unfathomable historical importance of that visitation so long ago, but the fact (or should I say belief) that the power of this in it’s truest essence is that it is being spoken, not in past, but in present tense.  The angel is speaking to each and every one of us when he uses the pronoun you.  The angel did not say I bring to you shepherds or I bring to you in this field, the angel simply said you.  And as such it is then not limited to any specific person nor any specific time.  You is universal.

Now lets think about the idea of bringing.  To bring something, whether it is physical, like a gift, or less tangible like knowledge, is to provide something, from the givers point of view, that is true and factual.  To bring you dinner, I’d better have some food.  To bring you knowledge about how to read, I’d better be able to read myself.  So the angel is bringing good tidings of great joy.  How does the angel know that the tidings should bring such great joy?  Simply because the angel had the experience of being with Christ.  Christ is from the beginning and the angelic beings had the experience of being with He who is pure love, pure justice, pure mercy, perfect in every way.  And now that same perfect Christ, who is from the beginning, has left His heavenly realm to come to earth, to be the Savior.  The angels knew who it was who had come to earth, what His mission was and that knowledge caused them to burst forth with, not only praise for God, but also pronouncements of joy to those for whom Christ had come.

Finally, Christ did not come for some lucky few.  These tidings were not meant only for shepherds or jews; not the rich nor just the poor, this news was not for thousands of years ago Judea only, it is for all people.  All people is all people.  All people is all who were alive at that time, all who would be subsequently born and even all who had come before and passed away.

So, fill in the blank.  For behold I bring (insert your name here)  good tidings of great joy, that is for everyone you have known, know and will know……….  And what is the expectation based on hearing these tidings given directly to you and me individually?  That we will fill with joy.  That we will capture as much as our limited consciousness will allow and our spirit can grasp hold of, the concept that God left an existence of perfection, to come to us, to share our pains, to know our frustrations, to experience our temptations and to return to heaven with that knowledge.  In that process of returning, by way of the most physically painful death imaginable, but equally as devastating for Christ, but essential for us and our individual salvation, Christ took upon him each and every one of our sins, giving his body and blood for our atonement.  He allowed us to return to a relationship with Our Heavenly Father.

May it be that through the Holy Spirit, you hear the angel’s proclamation to you this day.  And as the shepherds responded so long ago, may it be that we set out to find Christ, worship Christ and come away from that meeting praising God Almighty.  Amen

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