“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11)
Over the course of my ministry, I have had to be the bearer of both good and bad news. Events interrupt a normal day with news that must be shared. If it is bad news, it can be a challenge to figure out a way to tell those affected. How do you break the news to someone when you know that it will be devastating for them to hear? On the other hand, sharing good news with another can be a joyful experience and you can hardly wait to share it.
The shepherds who were watching over the flocks by night in the Christmas story receive good news from the angels. The darkness of the night is awakened by the light of God’s glory in the angels’ appearance. While scared at first at what they were witnessing, the shepherds would soon discover that they were the recipients of good news: “to you is born this day in the city of the David a Savior, who Christ the Lord.” Their lives would now be overturned by good news. Good news which would redirect their lives.
In our lives, both good news and bad news can redirect our lives. Life is interrupted by an event or situation which causes us to reexamine our lives, our direction, and what our ultimate destination is. Such events are often unexpected and leave us wondering what is next. The shepherds would have to choose what to do with this news. When life interrupts, we, too, have the freedom to choose how we respond. Discernment involves making decisions. Discernment includes both rational and intuitive processes: it means taking stock of your situation, your circumstances, the movements of your soul. It entails paying attention to your reactions, observing your physical and spiritual responses to things around you.
The shepherds would have to decide what to do with this news. We, too, must decide what to do when the news changes our situation.
Prayer: Help me, Lord make sense of the news that interrupts my life in such a way that honors you.