In the classic TV special, A Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Linus responds to Charlie’s display of holiday stress by reciting from the book of Luke. This year the same verses hit home for me, too. (Thank you, Linus!)
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”Luke 2:8-14 KJV
As a follower of Jesus for many years, I’ve encountered many interpretations, traditions and opinions related to how Christian holidays should or should not be practiced. And now, with so much of what we hear and read in the news about divisions between people, it’s easy, sadly, to separate ourselves in our celebrating as well.
But when I read the verses Linus quotes, my distress about our world is relieved like it was for his friend. For one thing, I’m reminded that God sent his messenger to declare the news to humanity that the time had come for our salvation.
Secondly, he brought good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.
Did you catch that?
God sent good news and joy for all people. There are no qualifiers. No one is excluded. No us versus them.
The apostle Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV). We have all done wrong. We all need salvation.
My response to this, the best news I’ve ever heard, is Hallelujah, Glory to God and Merry Christmas, everyone!
by Kathy Sheldon Davis