As we celebrate Christmas this year, we have another opportunity to celebrate the good news of great joy which the angels announced about two thousand years ago – the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Good news of a great joy? How can this be when we are surrounded by so much bad news? Can we talk about good news of great joy when we are confronted with news of massacre of little children, destruction in Syria, austerity measures leading to major economic challenges for the ever increasing poor in Greece, Spain and other places, the on-going economic and financial struggles of millions in the Global South, conflicts and wars that have left so much devastation, floods and other natural disasters, domestic violence, violence against women, climate injustice and its consequences. The list continues. Can we really talk about good news of great joy this Christmas 2012 and as we prepare to enter 2013?
Yes we can! Two thousand years ago, Bethlehem was a town in a land occupied by the then Roman empire. The people in the land were oppressed politically and economically, and conflicts were not too far away. The shepherds were among the least in status and had the least paid jobs. Their lot included spending cold nights guarding their sheep in fields far away from their homes – we could say they lived in the margins. One could not count them among the privileged in society. Yet they were the first recipients of this good news. Their first response was fear – fear of something strange and unknown. The message of the angels reversed that fear and brought hope.
The church can be God’s instruments for announcing the good news of great joy that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ brings. This is news that we can bring to those who live in fear and who experience all the bad news and incidents of injustice in the world. This is news for all – including the poor, the marginalised, victims of injustice and those who are suffering everywhere. When the King of Kings was born, he laid in a manger – not in a golden crib in a mansion. The birth of Jesus spells good news and hope. Let us rejoice in it, let us live it, let us proclaim it.
The President of the WCRC, Rev. Professor Jerry Pillay, the leadership of the WCRC, my colleagues in the WCRC office and my wife Akpene join me in wishing you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas, and when the year 2013 begins, we hope it comes filled with joy, hope and all God’s blessings.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Setri Nyomi (Rev. Dr.)WCRC General Secretary