“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” Like 2:10-11

Sometimes my place and time feels so similar to the place and time Jesus was born into. Both times know corrupt and greedy governments. Suffering and confusion. Religious hypocrisy. Apparent silence from God. Things so often not as they should be. I find myself asking with many of the Biblical writers, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 94:3, Habbakuk 1:2, Revelation 5:10).

Our children feel these ills as well. Seven year olds ask me about school shootings, modern slavery, racism, and kidnappings. Six year olds wonder why some local neighborhoods have residents of only one ethnicity, why some families are missing essential members, why God allows children to leave their parents, and vice versa. Five year olds express concern about homelessness, animal abuse, hunger, and bad guys.

“How long, O Lord?”

This is the world into which God came to be with us, to redeem us and creation. Not just into a world of people who are kind of mean or problems that are inconvenient or embarrassing.  But into a world which turns our stomachs, brings grief and anger boiling out of us. A world where we are all quick to hurt, retaliate, fear, and hide.

As we approached the season when many Christians remember the birth of Christ, our Promise community continued to work out the reality of life in this world as sometimes fearful, sometimes angry, sometimes forgetful, sometimes vengeful and mean persons. What joy that in the majority of conversations growing out of the brokenness, the consistent message from one to another at Promise can be (and often is) something like this:

“You don’t have to be afraid. I have good news of great joy for you and me. For unto us is born a Savior, a Rescuer, who is Christ the true King! He is Jesus, he is God with us, and he is with us here.”

Such good news. Merry Christmas.