You know that scene in Charlie Brown Christmas when Linus gets up and tells everybody what Christmas is all about?
Of course you do.
We all know it by heart.
But when we’re stressed out about getting our shopping done and our lights up and our cookies baked, we tend to put all that serious stuff on the back burner. It’s hard not to. Unless we go off and live in the wilderness somewhere, we are surrounded by CHRISTMAS everywhere. . . and not of the baby boy in a manger variety.
We hear people say “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” I’m not crazy about the saying, though, because it’s trite and it gets thrown out there as an assault at times, rather than as heartfelt truth.
What’s the Reason for the Season?
Jesus is indeed the reason for the season. The Christmas season and every other season as well.
But let’s not forget what Jesus’s whole purpose for descending to earth was.
The angels announced it, loud and proud:
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11
Being the nerd that I am, I went to one of my favorite resources — Blue Letter Bible — so I could examine this passage more closely.
Guess what the word for “good news” (or “glad tidings” in some translations) is? It’s the Greek word euaggelizo. And it’s where we get our word “evangelize.”
Evangelicalism gets a bad rap today, because much of it has been warped into something that doesn’t resemble the Gospel. But at it’s root, “evangelize” means to bring good news.
Did you catch that?
Good news isn’t something we hear often in our world. Even among Christians.
We’re called to share the good news, but so much of the time we see Christians shouting bad news instead. Even our evangelism is tainted with bad news. We’re so afraid that “sinners” might think they can get away with their sin, that we make sure to throw in plenty of bad news before we let them partake of any of the good.
- We tell them they’re going to hell because of their sin.
- We warn them of their total depravity.
- We speak of God’s wrath and His anger and ask them, “If you died tonight, where would you end up?”
And then we unleash Jesus on them and hope they’ll lap Him up thirstily.
It should come as no surprise when people respond with, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
- Could it be because we’re out spreading bad news instead of good?
- Could it be that we are known for being sourpuss fear-mongerers instead of joy-filled good-news-bearers?
- Could it be that we are best remembered for what we stand against, rather than what we stand for?
Jesus’s birth is —pure and simple and at its very core — good news.
And don’t miss this part: it’s good news for all people everywhere.
Not just for “good” people. Certainly not just for “rich” people, since the angels first appeared to poor lonely shepherds.
Jesus isn’t just for American people, or white people, or Republican people, or missionary people, or young people, or straight people, or even — dare I say it — “Christian” people.
Jesus coming to earth is good news for all people everywhere.
Jesus came for people. And that’s the true reason for the season.
Am I saying I believe in universalism? That everybody gets a free pass to heaven?
Not at all. That’s not what the Bible teaches.
But what I am absolutely emphatic about is that Jesus came for all people.
- Even people who might end up rejecting him.
- Even people who don’t know about him yet.
- Even people who are fed up with everything they know about Christianity.
Jesus came for people. And that’s good news.
Wait a minute, even “those people?”
I heard a stranger talking the other day about “those people.”
“This is what happens,” she said. “You give those people a little and now they want to take it all. And they will, too.” It was a bigoted comment but not uncommon toward this particular group of people.
But her phrase “those people” stuck with me.
Because there is no such thing as “those people.” Or if there is, then only God gets to use that term.
We are all “those people.”
And Jesus came for people. Even “those” people.
Because He so loved the world.
There is no “us” and “them.” We are all in the same boat, all people living on the same planet. And Jesus’ birth. . . well, it’s good news for all people everywhere.
This Christmas, instead of pointing fingers at all the bad in the world, perhaps it’s time we proclaim some good news instead. It worked for the angels.
In the midst of all the bad news, all the doom and gloom, let’s be joy-bearers. Life can get depressing at this time of year for so many. There are plenty of Charlie Browns out there.
So let’s be like Linus, shall we? Let’s share the good news of Jesus this Christmas season. Because His birth is indeed good news for people everywhere.