Summary: A sermon for Christmas Eve.
"Christmas 2015: Where Do You Get Your News?"
Where do you get your news?
If you are tuned into one of the 24 hour Cable News Outlets chances are you hear a lot of politicians beating up on one another.
Talking heads scream over one another.
T-V Hosts try to get the guests and the viewers all worked up.
It makes for good ratings.
When I was in the news business we had a saying: "If it bleeds it leads."
Which means: The more negative, violent and controversial the story--the higher up it goes in the show.
Back in the 1980's Don Henley had a song called dirty laundry.
It was about the news business.
One line went like this: "Got the bubble headed bleach blond, she comes on at 5.
She can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eyes.
It's interesting when people die, we like dirty laundry."
Do you like "dirty laundry?"
Do we like bad news?
We get a lot of it.
It's kind of depressing, really.
In Luke's Gospel we are told that when Jesus was born there were some shepherds living in fields nearby.
They were watching sheep.
And suddenly, "The Lord's angel stood before them, the Lord's glory shone around them, and they were terrified."
Then "The angel said, 'Don't be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you--wonderful, joyous news for all people."
"Don't be afraid"?
When was the last time the top story of the night was something other than an tragedy wrapped in fear?
We don't hear much good news on the airwaves, on the front of the newspaper, at the water cooler at work these days...
...and I'd assume the shepherds with whom God chose to share THE BEST NEWS EVER hadn't heard much good news in their entire lives!!!
These folks were the poorest of the poor.
They were the disabled, the weak, the marginalized.
They had been the butt of other people's jokes their entire lives.
They owned nothing, they couldn't get a decent paying job, and they weren't ever allowed to give testimony in a court of law--because they were considered unreliable.
They were the undesirables.
They were the oppressed.
They were the depressed.
They were living in the darkness of night, when suddenly a great light shined all around them!!!
Have you ever felt as if you were walking and living in deep darkness?
Has this been a rough year for you?
Have you had a rough few years?
Perhaps you have recently lost someone who was very close to you.
Perhaps you or someone you love is struggling with a terrible disease.
My dad is 90 years old.
He is the greatest guy I have ever known.
He's smart, funny, caring...
...He was the guy who always had my back...
...He's the guy I could always call when I was going through a rough time...
...he would listen to me; empathize with me; feel my pain...give me advice...
More than anyone I have ever known my dad is on my side.
For the past several years my dad has been going downhill physically and mentally.
He has dementia and he just returned from a stay at the hospital this week.
Here is the news my sister sent about my dad getting out of the hospital this week: "Just returned from Mom and Dad's.
We picked up Dad at about 1:15 p.m. and were only able to get him out by 2:30 p.m.
He was happy to be going home.
He had forgotten or was too scared to stand or walk so it took a lot to get him into the wheelchair and then into the car and then out of the car and into the house.
But after a lot of coaching on how to walk and literally lifting each leg up and forward he was able to make some progress on his own.
He is now learning everything again.
He could not find his mouth to drink with a glass, but after coaching for about 5 minutes he was able to get it slowly on his own..."
I think you get the point.
Sometimes it seems like the only news we get is bad, or at least tainted with bad.
"We are," as the Prophet Isaiah put it so well, "people walking in darkness."
But, that's not the end of the story is it?
For he proclaims: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given...and His name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end."