By Rev. M. Davies Kirkland
It just looks like it is hard to find any good news these days.
After a year now, there is still bad news about the presidential election with all of the special counsel investigations and endless inquiries. There are many reports of abuse of power by politicians and entertainers. There is the problem with North Korea and their missile systems with the potential of reaching the United States. The protest in Charlottesville opened up wounds of racial tensions. The weather hasn’t even cooperated with the devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. And to top it off, we can’t even drive on I-66 without having an EZ Pass with the potential of paying over $40 dollars for one trip. Where is the good news?
Well, good news is around the corner. As the carol says, “Good Christian friends rejoice with heart and soul and voice; give ye heed to what we say: News, News! Jesus Christ is born today!”
While we have bad news of disunity, disillusionment, tension, and fear, Christmas offers us good news of hope, peace, joy and love. I see this taking place in our little city of Falls Church and the surrounding community during this holiday season!
I visit local restaurants and see holiday office party lunches taking place. Everyone is in great spirits. I visit local eating establishments in the morning, and people come out with huge bags packed with doughnuts, bagels, and gallons of coffee to take to their work. What a way to start the day! I attended the Falls Church News-Press holiday party this past Thursday. Residents and city leaders came out to enjoy goodwill with one another and enjoy the sounds of the band playing. People are attending music and drama productions and are in the stores buying gifts. This is good news!
Christmas is a time of giving. December is the largest month for charity donations during the year. Examples are seen as the Salvation Army bell ringer rings his or her heart out at the Giant grocery store. I see USPS, UPS, and FedEx trucks driving at all times of the day and night delivering packages. Places of worship and civic groups have angel trees to support organizations such as Homestretch and raise money to help those in need. This is good news!
I enjoy seeing lights all over our little city. I love the lights downtown on Broad Street wired from the trunk up to the branches and those huge sparking balls! I enjoy seeing the lights in windows and the many light displays at homes with their many colors and shapes. Here at Dulin Church, where I pastor, we have the lone light above the manger on our front yard, witnessing to the hope and promise of the birth of Jesus. Across the street, our neighbor has decorations and lights galore shouting “Merry Christmas.” (Whenever someone asks me for directions to Dulin Church, I simply say, “You know the house on Broad Street with all the lights at Christmas…” I need not say another word.) This is good news!
On Christmas Eve, churches will be full of people, including those we call “CMEs” (people who attend Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter). We will light candles, break glow sticks, and sing “Silent Night, Holy Night.”
We will leave and go out into the night with good news of hope: that we can work together to make this world, nation and city a better place to live. We will be signs and messengers of hope in the world. Don’t give up!
We will go out into the night with good news of peace. With all types of tensions in the world and in our lives, we will seek peace with one another and offer reconciliation.
We will go out into the night with good news of joy. We celebrate the joy of family and friends. We experience the joy of living in a vibrant city and community full of opportunities of helping others- allowing us to not only give joy, but to receive joy when we see the smiles on their faces.
We will go out into the night with good news of love. As Jesus said, the greatest commandment is to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
At the Dulin parsonage I display in the front window, all year long, a ceramic Christmas tree my mother made me years ago. It reminds me, and hopefully my neighbors too, that the message of Christmas is not only for a day or a season, but all year. Let each of us bring good news of hope, peace, joy and love this Christmas season and into the New Year.
“News, News! Jesus Christ is born today.”
M. Davies Kirkland is the Reverend at Dulin United Methodist Church.