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Christmas Joy!

“But the angel said to [the shepherds], ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you

good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11, NRSV)

I think we could all use some good news these days! There is no better news than that which the angel brought as it appeared to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. It was news meant not just for the shepherds but for all people everywhere. The angel declared that “this day” a child was born who could save all people from their sin and brokenness, restoring us in relationship with our Creator. Then a host of angels filled the sky singing,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

(Luke 2:14, NRSV)

The good news of Jesus’ birth heralds the dawning of a new age of peace as the Kingdom of God takes another bold step toward fulfillment here on earth.

Recent studies show that anxiety and depression are on the rise. Judging by the sales numbers, alcohol consumption is also increasing. People feel the need to self-medicate against the angst of the times because they are agitated and on edge. We need the peace that only Jesus can bring. It is a peace that heals, soothes, nurtures, and creates a way forward when it seems like there is no way. Jesus’ peace calms the soul, renews the mind, and strengthens our spirits, empowering us to face the challenges of life with confidence and hope. In other words, it “saves.”

Amid the celebrations and the activities of the season, I pray the Prince of Peace will come to reside in your hearts. To receive him, we must pause and spend time in his presence, allowing his love to wash over us. The “good news” that Jesus brings is that there is a God who loves us and who will do anything to show us his love—including sending his Son into the world to live and die for us. We find peace when we accept his love because nothing can separate us from his great love for us. Nothing! So, whatever we’re going through, God is with us. “Emmanuel” literally means “God with us.”

In addition to all the beautiful gifts you receive this year, please remember to receive God’s greatest gift to us—the gift of his Son! When we do, we’ll discover the true joy of Christmas!

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