OUR CONNECTION MATTERS
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people." Luke 2:9-10, NLT
Good news. Christmas is about good news. Life was difficult for the everyday person 2,000 years ago. It was hard to make ends meet. Taxes were high. Work was hard. Everyday people were living lives in a spirit of anticipation, waiting for something to happen. They were waiting for the Messiah, the longed-for deliverer, the one who would make everything better. Waiting for something so important gave them hope. They knew there was something more than what they were experiencing. They knew there was something better coming.
In some ways, life hasn’t changed much since then. Life is still difficult for many people. It’s still hard for some to make ends meet. Work is hard for lots of people. Having safe shelter, regular meals, and an opportunity to provide for family is only a dream for many, even here in our own country. It becomes even harder to hold onto that dream in many other countries around the world.
The good news for people today is that the message of the angel is still true. Hearing the story of the good news of Jesus Christ told by someone who has experienced the great joy that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus can offer hope to everyone who listens even today. I’ve experienced the good news of Christmas many ways in the last few weeks. Seeing nativity scenes on neighbors’ yards always makes me smile. Reading an Advent devotional book written by a pastor in South Georgia encourages me to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Hearing the stories of churches around South Georgia who are finding ways to share the story even as they recover from a hurricane makes me proud. And watching A Charlie Brown Christmas always makes me feel like Christmas is right around the corner.
There have been many other reminders of Christmas and the good news that The United Methodist Church shares globally in the last two weeks. During a recent nationally televised football game that did not go the way I wanted to it go, a commercial came on. Children were shown talking about the real meaning of Christmas. I wondered what was being advertised until the very end. The tag line came on the screen and it was the people of The United Methodist Church. It was our great church, sharing the good news of the birth of Jesus in a very public way! If you haven’t seen the commercial, you can find it online here, or on the Rethink church website. Last week, at a Global Missions Summit hosted by the General Board of Global Ministries, I saw firsthand examples of the many, many works of service and mercy that we participate in around the world. The United Methodist Church shares the good news of Jesus Christ with millions of people around the world every day.
I pray you will find ways to share the good news of the birth of Jesus personally during this Christmas season. I pray your church will find ways to reach the community with the news of Jesus. Please know you are sharing the good news of the birth of the Savior every day even when you don’t speak the words yourself. The message of the angel is remembered and repeated by millions around the world through the work of The United Methodist Church. I pray those words offer hope to all who have ears to hear.
Dr. Nita Crump serves as Director of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at email@example.com.