Luke 2:9 – An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (NIV)
I suspect that you've noticed that good news rarely makes "good" headlines. That could be said for Jesus's birth — and also for those shepherds who experienced the angels. It could be said today for countless individuals in remote corners of the world who experience Christ transforming their lives and communities, liberating them from the oppressive power of human and demonic evil. Today, God is building His kingdom in the most unlikely situations. Yet, to the global mainstream, such good news is not newsy — or rather, newsworthy. People are drawn to news that's noisy and often alarming.
We must resist a steady diet of such content. It dampens our faith; it makes us anxious and distrustful; it makes God seem distant. We need a rich spiritual diet of news about God's transforming work, both past and present, to build faith and perseverance.
That's why I avoid popular ministries which draw on alarming newsbytes to prove that the world is about to end. These "experts" in world affairs proclaim themselves as prophets. However, their source is not God; it's media noise. Little is said about the mighty works of God in the hearts of people — even in situations which might suggest an imminent apocalypse.
In the midst of so much noise, how can you and I discover God's quiet doings? Firstly, let us remember how God arranged for His angels to deliver the news to the shepherds. We, too, need God's help. We must simply ask, trusting Him to arrange ways.
That's been true for me. I often pray, "Lord, show me what You're doing!" God answers in various ways — through people, literary and Internet sources, and various unplanned connections. I recall an ordinary pastoral visit with an ordinary older couple. In them, I saw a vibrant faith in spite of suffering and confinement. I asked them each how their faith was formed. They shared a surprising spiritual journey. I say surprising, because their religious affiliation was far from spiritually vibrant. That day, my wrong presumption was corrected.
Indeed, God's transforming power often goes undetected. He's been working, not only in remote primitive villages in Africa and Asia, but also in the dark places of human hearts of people amongst us — even those in spiritually declining churches. We can miss it all; or with God's help, we can see it.
It's no different with one's view of Scripture. We've heard the typical list of atrocities that some see promoted in its pages: inequality, patriarchy, misogyny, slavery, and oppression. Yet today, the very people who experience such atrocities have come to love the Word. They've been aided by God to see in its pages the glorious promise of light.
Indeed, God still empowers ordinary people to hear and receive the best news ever:
Luke 2:14 – Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, show us where You are working in hearts today. Empower us to take note, that our faith in You may grow stronger.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" (Lyrics)