The News. It can be exasperating, can’t it?
We want information, but when we turn to THE NEWS, what can we really believe.
Take any event – it doesn’t matter which – take any one things that happened. Depending on which news outlet you turn to you will get wildly different accounts of what it means – and after all is that not why we watch the news, to understand the meaning of an event, to understand how it impacts us.
Sometimes the actually events or parts of the events are not even reported or are purposely mis-reported.
While it is true different aspects of an event can be reported on separately – things like different items in a town meeting, sometimes we start to wonder – especially if we were at the specific event – if the reporter was even there.
Let’s not even get started on the most egregious reporting of all FAKE NEWS. Regardless of who makes the claim it is wrong and should not be, but it does happen – all to often – on all sides of the political spectrum. All news becomes opinion.
Oh how I long for some news that I can trust. News that is not filtered through the lens of someone’s opinion, news that have some self-evident meaning that will give meaning to my life, news that I can rely upon to inform me in the things that really matter, so that I might flourish in happiness and peace.
Perhaps you too seek this news, that brings meaning to your life, that brings happiness and peace. News that is unchanging, unwavering, news that is eternal, and news that is not fake.
One need look no further than the Good News of Jesus Christ – the Gospel message foretold in the words of the Old Testament, fulfilled by the birth of Christ and lived out in his life, death, and resurrection, the same news that spread by the work of the apostles, the Good News that is with us still today.
And what is the message of this Good News – it simple this: God loves you. God loves you and cares about, even when the world does not. No matter what your life circumstances are God loves you and will continue to love you with a love that shines brighter the than brightest star, with a love hotter than the hottest sun, that is deeper than the depth of the universe, with a love that is closer to you than your own breath.
It is an intimate love. It is a love that God gives for the purpose of drawing you closer to him, so that through faith you might have a life abounding with love and peace and ultimately have eternal life with him.
The hardest things we face in this world is the distance we put between one another – the distance sin puts between us and God. It is the distance that lead to isolation, selfishness, broken relationships, greed, hated, anger, despair, broken hearts. All these things, though, are but symptoms of the broken relationship between us and God . It all flows from there.
But we are not without hope, because God so loved the world that He gave only begotten son, so that all who believe in him will have eternal life. Hardships will come in this world – Jesus tells us this, but we need not lose hope because God is with us – Emmanuel. He is not distant. He knows our suffering and our pain, and our lose and our sins, for in Jesus he suffered all of these things.
The great Christian Father Saint Augustine – who so influenced Martin Luther said this about the way in which God intimately comes to share our life – our joys, our sorrows, our strengths and our weaknesses. He said,
“Man’s maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witnesses, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.”
It is fine well and good to speak about lofty things – about God’s love in the abstract, but for us to really experience it, to know it and to trust in it – for it to be real for us – there needs to be something tangible, something we can see, feel, experience. This is why God came to us in the person of Jesus – His word incarnate. Jesus solidifies the relationship, he make the love manifest in our loves. This is why he is called Emmanuel – God is with us.
He is with us to sustain us in the darkest moments of our loves with the message of the Good News – that your sins are forgiven when you believe in Him.
What a more gracious gift could God have given to us than a savior who can look at the struggles of our human journey and compassionately say, “I know.”
In the midst of despair and loss, in the face disappointment there is hope because there is life – a life that he shared with us. The sadness of this world – for those who believe – will one day be forgotten. It will be swallowed up in the joy of eternal bliss.
But what of the world now – what does God’s love in Jesus have to offer. In the abstract not much – I admit – but in the lived out lives of believers it has much to offer, for in this lived out life there is relationship, love, solace, peace, and above all ultimate meaning for lives in a world where so much seems meaningless. Again, let us hear the words of Saint Augustine regarding what God’s love in Christ really looks like when lived out in the world.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
This is the good news of that event that we remember tonight – that event that took place over 2000 years ago but continues to make a difference and continues to give meaning to life today.
This is the good news. It is not fake news. It does not change no matter how people try to spin it. It is eternal good news. It is the news over which the Shepherds rejoiced. It is the good news Isaiah proclaimed. It is the good news extolled by John the Baptist and it is the good news preached by Jesus when he said,
“I have come so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
As we look to Christmas Day, we should not forget that this night we are still in the season of Advent – the season in which we look with hope and anticipation to Christ’s coming into the world: in the Advent of Christmas and in the Advent of his return one day, but we cannot overlook all of the Advents – the comings of Christ in our lives daily. These are a reminder that God is with us and God loves us and is active in our lives.
Remember that God is with you through the days filled with tears and sorrow, through the days filled with anger and frustration, sadness, lonliness, days filled with strife and striving that results in failure. You may not be able to hold on in these days but rest assured he will hold you.
The world around us can often be bright and beautiful but for us it can also be dark, filled with sadness and heartache. Our hopes and dreams go unfulfilled and all of our best intentions come to naught. It is at these times you need to remember the God is with you in Christ Jesus. It is at times like these we often need simply to sit as his feet, reclaim with him and remember that He is the King who has come to us out of love. We need bring nothing to him but our brokeness, our dashed hopes, our sins, our emptiness, our shame, our guilt. We can give these things to him and he in exchange will give us his blessing, his righteousness, and in doing so impart upon us the love of God and blessings far beyond the material things of this world.
That is the Good News of Chirstmas.
No fake news here.