I don’t watch the news. Nor do I listen to it or read it. I know. You’re saying,”How do you know what’s going on in the world?” I don’t. But who really does? Most of what the media tosses out there is untrue, whether by omission, ignorance or deception. And nearly all of it is bad news: spiraling economics, civil wars, global warming or cooling, earthquakes, mudslides, celebrity breakdowns, student melt-downs and whatever is the latest carcinogenic that you love to eat every morning for breakfast. Am I missing anything? Oh yeah, there’s another election around the bend. Wake me up if anything ever changes.
I can’t help but think of another time and place — over 2,000 years ago — when the world was also filled with bad news. Life as usual…taxes, oppression, death. The Jews were waiting for a savior, a king, the Messiah. But they were looking in the wrong place. Bad news distracts us. We are looking for our own loophole. Maybe it’s our retirement plan, a rich husband, our incredibly gifted children. We are looking for a ride on the tail of a comet. As the news parades by on the big blue screen we are not thinking: How can I fix this? But rather, how can I escape this?
I think the shepherds saw the angels that cold night because they were not distracted. They were simply watching sheep. Or the stars in the sky. The sheep were probably sleeping. The angels got a little rowdy celebrating what was going on in the manger down the road and ripped open the sky above the tired and dirty shepherds. “Don’t be afraid! We’ve got GREAT news!” Wow! Not more bad news, but some really, really good news.
Most of America has over-eaten and over-shopped as we head into December. If we are honest, we are a little agitated by the constant reminders to spend, I mean give. We are tired, stressed and most of our wallets are pathetically lean. And we don’t want to hear any more bad news.
The night sky is beautiful this time of year. I know this sounds crazy but sometimes I search the sky, looking for a small tear in the obscure darkness, or stars that dance, or maybe if I listen closely, I can hear hallelujahs in the wind. God does not owe us that. He sent the Good News a long time ago. But He has been known to visit us in mysterious ways…in the dark and starry night or a dirty barn or crowded mall. The Savior has come. Jesus… “Immanuel, God with us.”