Archives for posts with tag: good news

In just a few days it will Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. At Christmas Eve services the night before, people all over the world will sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

On the evening the Bethlehem Baby was born there were shepherds nearby tending their flocks. Their everyday routine. Suddenly the scene changed and an angel appeared among them and the surroundings lit up. They were understandably terrified. Then the angel told them not to be afraid. Oh sure!

Right in the middle of their workaday world an angel appears and the landscape lights up. What are they expected to feel if not fear?

Then the angel said, ““I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Good news! Great joy! A Savior!

The shepherds responded by rushing to see for themselves what the angel proclaimed. Seeing was believing and they told everyone they met what the angel had said about this child.

It has been more than twenty centuries since that event in Bethlehem. Millions have heard the story and have believed. Millions others have heard but have not believed. One reason for this unbelief might be that we who follow Christ have not been the joyful creatures that we should be.

The shepherds rejoiced at the good news of a Savior. They returned to their work “glorifying and praising God.” The Apostle Paul suggests that we who have been redeemed by that same Jesus should likewise be filled with joy- not only at Christmas but at all times. “Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, TLB)

Teilhard de Chardin, says, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” Acknowledging the Presence of God in our lives will not only enrich our living, it will also be contagious. Mother Teresa suggests that “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

Be joyful for a Savior has come!

Jamie Jenkins

 

My twelve year-old granddaughter is a very positive and happy person. She wants to talk and hear about positive things. At times I understand that she is simply naïve but I appreciate the fact that she has a positive outlook and wants to see the best in everything and everyone. And she tries very hard to be the best person she can be.

Recently I heard a response to the question of why the news media seem to always report only “bad” things. The reason given was because “bad news” is not the norm. There are far more stories of “good news.” The exception to the rule makes something newsworthy. Therefore tragedy, hostility, and other unseemly attitudes, words, and acts are reported because they are the exceptions.

I am not sure that is actually the reality but it is one perspective and possibility.

One of my teachers had a saying that bad news goes around the world twice before good news gets its shoes on. It certainly does seem that bad news travels faster than good news. Word of a robbery seems to spread much farther and faster than a report of a random act of kindness. Road rage makes the headlines but the many motorists who are patient and tolerant are seemingly absent.

I am often reminded that we see and hear what we are looking and listening for. Our ears perk up at juicy gossip and our eyes widen when we see something unseemly.

Today as I was driving I saw blue lights flashing in the distance. Instinctively I slowed down and expected to see an accident or someone receiving a ticket for violating the traffic laws. Maybe even a person being arrested for some criminal act.

But I saw something very different. Two police vehicles were diverting traffic around a stalled minivan and two officers were changing a flat tire for the driver of the stranded automobile. That was a surprise but a welcome sight. The officers were white and the motorist was black. The officers were male and the driver was female.

There are so many reports these days about white law enforcement officers inflicting violence on black citizens and headlines about men exploiting women. Nothing that I say here is intended to make light of these incidents. Violence against any human being is never justified and is even more detestable when it comes from persons in authority or from racist and/or sexist attitudes.

The experience I am reporting is meant simply to remind us that acts of kindness, generosity, gentleness, mercy, and respect occur all the time. We must not allow the “exceptions,” as horrible as they are, to lead us to believe that civility and human dignity have disappeared from our society. That charity and hospitality are things of the past.

What I saw today also sensitizes me to situations where I can be helpful. It reminds me to pay attention to those around me who might need assistance or support. It helps me to remember that no good deed is small. It aids me in focusing on others and not to be so self-centered. It reminds me to look for opportunities to “live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward (me)” (Matthew 5:48, The Message).

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

Call it coincidence. Call it ironic. I say it was God’s sense of humor.

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My post last Thursday explained my difficulty with waiting. I admitted that I am an impatient person. Not a good wait-er.

On the day that post appeared one week ago, my wife and I went to a Christmas luncheon and planned to return home mid-afternoon. Before we left that morning I called my doctor. I had been having head and neck pain for about a week and wanted to know what he thought I should do about it. During the luncheon his nurse returned my call with instructions from the doctor to go to the emergency room. They might need to do some “imaging of the head” in an effort to find the problem.

Following my doctor’s recommendation, I went to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. When I arrived at 1:30 PM there were a lot of people in the waiting room who looked like they needed to be there. Unlike most of the other patients I walked in upright, showed no outward evidence of the need for emergency treatment, and was dressed like I was going to an important event.

emergency_room_591A few minutes after arriving at the emergency department I was called into the triage room where I provided them with the details of my situation. After waiting a while they called my name and I was ushered into a space enclosed by curtains where an EKG was administered, blood was drawn, and an IV was installed in my right arm. No explanation was given until I asked why this was necessary.

I was told to sit in a wheel chair and wait (for what?). In a few minutes a young man came and wheeled me through a maze of treatment rooms and down a hallway with no explanation until I asked where we were going. He replied that I was going to have a CT scan of my head. Shortly after I received that information we stopped at the end of the hallway and the man who had been pushing me disappeared into a room without a word. I sat there waiting, not knowing what was next.

Finally the man returned and pushed me into a room where there was a huge machine. He told me to remove my glasses, lie down on my back, and rest my head in a certain place. Assuming this was when he was going to complete the “imaging of my head” which my doctor had suggested, I asked and he said yes.

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After the scan I was wheeled back to the waiting room and told I would get the results in 30-45 minutes. It was three o’clock. I waited. An hour passed and my wife asked the receptionist what was happening. She was told they were waiting for a room so the doctor could talk with me. I waited. Four hours later I was ushered back to the treatment area and was given a seat in the hallway where the doctor came and reported the results of all the procedures.

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The attending physician was very pleasant and informative. She delivered the good news that all tests were negative. Nothing in the blood lab work, EKG, or CT scan showed anything abnormal. She said the cause of my headaches was most likely muscular so Extra Strength Tylenol and a couple of days of a mild muscle relaxer would probably solve the problem. Seven hours after I entered the emergency department I left for home. I had waited, not so patiently I might add, but in the end I received good news

The third week of Advent is almost over. We continue to wait in anticipation of the Coming of the Christ-Child. Ten more days of waiting until Christmas. Then comes the Good News. Christ is born in Bethlehem. It is worth the wait!

Jamie Jenkins

Good News 2

It is not unusual to hear of someone getting shot. Or someone robbing or killing folks as they walk the streets of their city. Or a purse snatching. Those stories have become commonplace and fill our newscasts. But I have a different story to tell you.

Good News 1

A friend had been running errands and shopping. After returning home and unloading the things she had bought she realized her purse was missing. The last time she remembered having it was at Walmart when she was loading her purchases into her automobile.

She figured she had left it in the shopping cart or perhaps had left it on the car and it fell off as she drove away. And that was about an hour ago. Her purse was probably lost for ever with her ID, credit cards, and money. Surely she would never see her purse again.

With little hope of a positive outcome my friend and her husband rushed back to the store hoping against hope. When they came to the spot where her car had been parked it was no surprise that there was no sign of her purse or its contents. Perhaps whoever found it might have thrown the purse in a nearby trash can after taking her valuables. But the trash can yielded nothing.

Good Deed 1

With hopes dwindling and dread growing they went to the customer service desk inside Walmart. With little expectation of an affirmative answer she inquired if anyone had turned in a purse in the last hour. As expected she was given a look of “you’ve got to be kidding.” However, minutes later the store employee returned from a side room with her purse AND nothing was missing.

My friend responded, “Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!” and the store clerk replied, “God is good!”

There has never been a doubt in my mind that God is good but I have not always felt so confident that people are good. There is so much badness and meanness on display in the world that it is easy for goodness to be overlooked. The attention given to violence and hatred and greed outweighs any emphasis on compassion and  integrity and honesty.

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One of my teachers long ago had a favorite saying: “Bad news goes around the world twice before good news gets its shoes on.” In other words, we hear and spread “bad” news much more regularly and rapidly than we tell “good” news.

The attitude demonstrated by my friend and her husband reflects the attitude of cynicism that is all too common. We have been conditioned to expect the worst. We have been taught to believe that evil is more prevalent than good. An incident like this lost purse encourages us and reminds us that there are a lot of good people in the world. Thank God!

Jamie Jenkins