Well, we have almost arrived at Christmas. There are only a few more shopping days left. Schools are drawing to a close. Traffic is getting lighter. Families are gathering. For many, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
But all is not idyllic in this fallen world. This week people will feel the loss of loved ones and the disappointment of family. Others will be reminded of financial hardship. All of us can look out and see the effects of global conflict, global poverty, and global injustice.
But it is Christmas, and that means GOOD NEWS! The best news in fact. Pastor Darrell Johnson puts it this way, "The early Christians looked out on a world as challenging, as frightening, as confusing, and as overwhelmingly broken as ours, and they did not say, 'Look what the world has come to.' What the world has come to is not the content of our message." Instead, Johnson points us to the true focus of Christmas: not "what has the world come to" but "look what has come to the world" - the Savior, King, and Redeemer. Johnson quotes the missionary E. Stanley Jones who said, "[The early Christians] saw not merely the ruin, but the resources for the reconstruction of that ruin.”
This is exactly the message of Micah that we come to this Sunday and again on Christmas Eve, when we will look at the nature of the promised Shepherd-King who will rule in justice and might (Micah 5:3-6). It is a message that culminates with the glad tidings that we have a God like no other, "...pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love" (Micah 7:18).
So whether you be merry of heart or struggling to find joy, ring the bells! Christ has come to the world!