Have you heard good news of great joy recently?

Two of my close friends will be married in a month’s time. Another has announced they’re having a baby. Others recently bought their first home. And still others are enjoying the thrill of finally finishing their studies and wondering where-to-next. These family members and friends were eager to share their good news with me. And each story brought me great excitement and joy.

Good News of Great Joy

The good news I mentioned above probably didn’t bring you much delight. You don’t have the same relationships with these people as me, and so, no matter how you feel, you don’t naturally share my joy in their circumstances. Why would you?

Two millennia ago, a bunch of shepherds were filled with joy when they heard good news about someone they had never met. They were spending the night caring for their sheep, when a messenger appeared, telling them good news about a child who had been born. He wasn’t a nephew or the son of one of their friends. They didn’t know who his parents were. Yet when they heard this news, they were ecstatic. They bolted to see him. And they told everyone about his birth.

Luke’s Gospel records the angel saying to the shepherds:

… behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10)

The good news of Jesus’ birth was not limited to his mother and father and their family and friends. It was extended first to the shepherds and then to “all the people; Christ’s birth brings joy to the world.

In one famous carol, the nations are invited to join the angels in singing about the reason for this great joy:

Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.
Peace on earth and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled

Joyful, all ye nations rise.
Join the triumph of the skies.
With angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Today, we too have heard the good news of great joy that is Christ’s birth. In him, we sinners are reconciled to God—receiving forgiveness, relationship and life. Just as we received this good news, we share it—joining the triumphs of the skies to proclaim Christ is born. Year after year, we can revel and delight in the good news of Jesus’ birth. This is news worth hearing and news worth sharing. It is good news of great joy.

Even when someone has no family connections to Jesus. Even when they don’t live in the same country that he was born in. They can still rejoice in and receive the good news of Jesus—all that he is and has accomplished for those who believe in him.

The Good News that Flows from the “Good News”

The early church devoted their lives to declaring the good news of Jesus crucified and risen (Acts 8:35; 10:36; 13:32-33). As those whose lives have now been transformed by hearing this good news, we too are commissioned to go and share it (Matthew 28:19-20). Since this is good news for all people, we delight in not keeping it to ourselves. And we delight in seeing and hearing of others who joyfully receive it.

Over the next month or so, we will be hearing encouraging good news stories. Each Saturday, we will read about different churches and ministry groups. They will share what their ministries have looked like this year, and the ways God has worked to produce fruit in their lives and in the lives of others. Whether it is Christians growing in the faith or non-Christians accepting the gospel for the first time, we can rejoice in how the good news is being received and proclaimed.

This is news worth hearing and news worth sharing. It is good news of great joy.

It does not matter if we have no apparent connection to these people or places. We can still rejoice. Indeed, in Christ these are good news stories from our own family members (Mark 10:29-30)!

Just as the angels spoke to those shepherds in that dark night long ago, bringing good news of great joy, we hope to bring Good News of Great Joy to the Christians of Australia, as we see and hear God at work in hearts and lives.

Have you heard good news of great joy recently?

If you have good news about a ministry you’re involved in, send an email to [email protected] so that others can share in your joy.