There are many kinds of good news. The best news for me was the birth of my three sons, and seeing them each succeed in their own ways. For some, good news may be winning the lottery or an all clear on a medical test, getting a new job or buying a new car. We all like good news, and in a world that is often neck deep in bad news, the good news we do get seems even better.
There is a deeper kind of Good News. A transformative Good News that produces joy and peace at the very core of who we are - like when we discover we are at peace with the universe: with God and ourselves. This is what excites me most about the Gospel story. The Good News of the God, who dwelt among us in Jesus, lifts the pawl of estrangement and death. Our sense shame need no longer separate us from God or others. Being at peace with God frees us from religious toil of trying to earn the love of God. The Good News is that God has always been for us. His posture has always been one of unrelenting love towards His good creation. Toward us. Towards you.
The Eternal, your God, is standing right here among you,
and He is the champion who will rescue you.
He will joyfully celebrate over you;
He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. - Zeph. 3:17 Voice
We do live in the tensions of two realities; the Kingdom now and the Kingdom yet to come. We all experience seasons of pain, disappointment, and loss, but we faithfully wrestle to live genuine faith in the tension of the now and not yet. In the midst of this tension, the Good News is we can take our cares and anxieties to a God, who is for us, who is deeply and intimately interested in each of us. No longer having to sacrifice, beg and bargain, we know a God, who is closest when we feel most alone. We can take our anxieties, worries, and infirmities and prayerfully offer them to God and He recycles them for our good. These burden-fuelled prayers helps us experience the closeness of God and a lifting of the heavy load upon our hearts. As we are watchful for the way God frees us, we respond with gratitude. For even this gratitude goes a long way to experience a deeper sense of joy and a more meaningful life.
Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. - Phil. 4:6
This life-giving message that we are genuinely loved, that we don't have to feel at odds with the Universe brings with it a profound sense of joy, hope, and fresh vision to live another way. The Gospel reading tells of the One who baptized with Holy Spirit (power) and Fire (passionate love). Spirit and fire brings with it the strength to be who you are truly created to be. It frees us to live with greater authenticity. It frees us from small living and selfishness. It frees us from having to win and to be first at all costs. No longer having to prop up our ego's or to pretend to be something we aren't. It frees us to discover the transformative power to live a life from our authentic self. We come to find rest because we experience love. This manifests generous, and BIG lives full of joyous love.
The Good News in Jesus is we are not alone. God is with us. We are no longer at odds with the Universe. Fear, depression, anxiety, pain, loss and death do not have the final word. Love does. God loves us, and God forgives us and God dwells within us in Christ. In Christ, the creator of the universe and human beings meet and reconciled we mysteriously become one. This is a season of Good News, a season of hope and joy.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8 MSG
3rd Sunday of Advent Scriptures