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Listening to the news, we could be forgiven for thinking that bad news far outweighs good news.

Regular reports of deceit makes it hard to know who to trust. The stories of those hurt by conflict and greed lead us to despair. Headlines of disease and death cause us to fear. When one lie is uncovered, another is revealed. When one war ceases, conflict strikes up somewhere else. When one disease is dealt with, another comes to light. The content is bad news. The coverage is relentless. The feelings are difficult to escape

At the same time, we know that all this bad news isn’t a true reflection of our day-to-day lives. We wanted to hear some of the things that you would call ‘good news’ and the things that give you ‘great joy’ so we asked you! The responses came together to look like this...

  • There is good news every time someone says ‘I do!’
  • There is good news with every safe arrival and every baby’s first cry.  
  • There is good news when we achieve goals, targets and challenges that we’ve worked hard for.
  • There is good news when opportunities come our way.  
  • There is good news when the treatment is successful and the all clear is given.
  • There is good news when we get to experience new places, new things and new cultures. 
  • There is good news when a loved one says that they are proud of us.?
  • We find joy when something we do or say puts a smile on the face of another.
  • We find joy when the busyness is paused and all is calm and quiet.  
  • We find joy in the things we love to do, watch and listen to.
  • We find joy in the process of creating something and in the creativity of others.  
  • We find joy in the natural world, the beauty of a mountain top, the expanse of the ocean, the fluttering of butterflies and the buzzing of bees!
  • We find joy in our families, the closeness of relationships and the delight of watching children grow, learn, develop and succeed.

We pass through seasons when everything is joy.  Sometimes sparks of joy penetrate the humdrum of day to day life and give us hope to keep going.  Occasionally joy shimmers even as we navigate the darkest and hardest of life’s paths. These shimmers, sparks and seasons leave a taste and a hunger for more.  We order our lives in such a way that we might find, for ourselves, more joy. We desire more joy because when it shimmers, sparks or spans out before us we feel most content, most satisfied, most loved and most hopeful.

A few thousand years ago on a hillside in Bethlehem an angel proclaimed ‘great joy’ to a group of shepherds.  This ‘great joy’ was heralded with unexpected emphasis as the night skies opened and the light of the heavens burst through, penetrating the darkness and filling these poor shepherds with fear.  One angel became a multitude of angels singing songs of deafening praise to the God of ‘great joy’. It wasn’t a shimmer or a spark but a glorious arrival of eternal joy gifted, not just for these shepherds, but for all people. 

We wanted to hear the news that you thought would cause great joy for all people today.  The responses came together to say....

  • Peace.  The end of war and conflict.  
  • Unity.  The bringing together of people, nations and governments.
  • Reassurance.  The comfort in knowing that... “...everything is OK”.
  • Health.  The end of disease, hunger and sickness.  
  • Trust.  The formation of a new kind of leadership – leadership that is good and strong and trustworthy.
  • A Clean Slate.  The confidence that my mistakes and failures no longer define me.

The Bible tells us that this kind of universal joy can only be found in Jesus Christ.  The shimmers, sparks, and seasons of joy that we experience every day are God-given joys that increase our hunger for a greater joy that can only be found in Him.  This joy is not temporary or situational but lasting and deep. The source of this joy is the God who is unchanging and trustworthy. Jesus is the bringer of peace and unity, whose death and resurrection perfectly removes every trace of our mistakes and failures.  He is the one who will, for all those who know Him and trust Him, give strength in every fear, peace in every grief and friendship in all kinds of suffering. That’s the good news that brings great joy, and it really is, for all people.

Let me introduce you to Hayley. She heard the good news about Jesus from her friend.  Take a listen to her ‘Good News Story’ and look out for a new story every week in the run up to Christmas.  Why not come to find out more and celebrate with us this at The Bridge Church this Christmas time?

Click here to find out what’s happening in the church and in the community over the coming weeks.  We hope to see you soon!

Steve Smith

Tom Roberts, 22/11/2019