As we embark upon a season of singing Christmas carols, I am reminded of a line from ‘O Little town of Bethlehem’ which says: ‘…the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight’.
The Christmas story tells us of God’s goodness to all people on earth. At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jewish people were living under the rule of the Roman Empire. Taxes were high, life was difficult, and God had not spoken for over 400 years!
It was as if He was silent. But within a space of nine months, heaven began to invade earth. Angels were appearing on earth and bringing the message of the good news of God’s goodness to all people. This message not only changed the lives of those in Judea, but continues to change the lives of millions of people around the world.
The Christmas message of God’s goodness is true and still living amongst us. It is a message of hope. Jesus is still active, still alive and still changing lives. I see this in my own life. Despite living with serious health challenges. I am unable to eat, and so am fed through a tube; I am deaf and I am unable to speak – all due to damage caused by cancer treatment as an adolescent, I can still testify to the goodness of God in my life! Recently I went to see my chest consultant who said this: ‘If I did not know you, and I read your medical file for the first time, I would have expected to find a very sick man, who needed to spend time in hospital every month, living with a poor quality of life’.
Even though I am restricted in many areas, I am not what my medical record says I should be. I am not living with a poor quality of life – quite the opposite! I am able, through God’s goodness and grace, to enjoy life. Each day I am so thankful that I have encountered Jesus, and that despite my daily health battles, I can experience the goodness of God because He lifts me up and gives me hope.
I love the story of the shepherds’ encounter with the angels outside Bethlehem. Sitting around the fire, they were expecting it to be a normal night, watching their sheep. To be a shepherd in those days was one of the lowest sorts of jobs you could have, with a tough lifestyle, it was a pretty hopeless life. But it was to these people that the message of God’s goodness first came. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born for you. He is Christ the Lord’. The goodness of God is to be found in the land of the living! The Son of God is born – the Saviour of the world! God is no longer silent.
He was speaking then, and unveiling His plans for all humankind. The shepherds went to the stable, and saw the baby Jesus, just as the angels had told them. They left praising and glorifying God. Their lives were changed forever.
It is our hope, that this Christmas, you will taste and see the goodness of God in your life. The birth of God’s son is for whole world. It is indeed a story that you can connect with. It is a message of hope which reveals the goodness of God to a world that is crying out for something more. It is indeed a message of good news. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it can be met in Jesus. He was born for that reason, so never give up hope.