The Good News of Christmas is not fake news

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It must be nearing year-end because the “words of the year” have been released. Dictionary.com follows each year’s most meaningful events and “look-up” trends. The site has named “complicit” as its word of the year.

“Complicit” means to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having involvement in wrongdoing (http://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-year-2017/).

When a word’s meaning is questioned, and people turn to www.dictionary.com to look it up, the site documents that jump in activity. For example, the day after Saturday Night Live aired a satirical ad featuring Scarlett Johansson playing Ivana Trump promoting a fragrance called “Complicit,” searches increased 10,000 percent.

Collins Dictionary named “cuffing season,” “Cobynmania,” “Echo chamber” and “gig economy” to its short list of words that have made their way into our everyday vocabulary, but announced “fake new” as its “word” of the year.

“Fake news,” defined as “false, often sensational information disseminated under the guise of news reporting,” saw its usage increase by 365 percent since 2016 (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/woty).

Occasionally, something is circulated in news outlets or in social media that is exaggerated, or inaccurate, and people take it to be factual, when actually the report is a hoax, or a fabrication intended to mislead.

We get distracted by fake news, and discouraged by the constant bombardment of bad news. We need some good news, don’t we? Good news is refreshing, and Christmas comes just in time to bring us the best news release ever issued.

Luke 2:8-20 records the events. Outside of Bethlehem on an ordinary night, shepherds were guarding their sheep. They were going about their smelly, ordinary, dirty, mundane tasks, when suddenly out of nowhere a heavenly messenger appeared and stood before them. The glory of God shone around them as instantly the darkness was shattered by the supernatural radiance of God.

The messenger delivered a major announcement: “. . . I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord . . .

“And this will be a sign to you, you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

This breaking news came first to lowly shepherds. The long awaited and promised baby had been born: a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

Savior means “deliverer.” Jesus came to deliver us from our sins and lost condition.

Christ means “anointed One,” or “Messiah” in Hebrew.

Lord means “ruler.”

This breaking news is awesome news: Jesus is born, and His birth is what we celebrate at Christmastime, His coming to provide salvation. This news, the good tidings of great joy, is to all people (Luke 2:10). Jesus came for everyone, and He is willing to grant salvation to all who will turn to Him and place their trust in Him.

The shepherds dropped what they were doing and went immediately to see Mary, Joseph and the newborn lying in the manger.

Luke 2:17 continues, “Now when they had seen him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this child.”

One of the best ways to capture the Christmas spirit and keep our focus on Christ rather than commercialism is to share the Christmas story. We take for granted that everybody has a grasp on the facts of Christmas, but that’s not the case.

A young lady from our church, Allie, serves as a house parent in a girls’ group home in Alabama. A new resident I’ll call Tracy was assigned to her cottage recently. The girls were bringing out the Christmas decorations and Tracy opened the box containing the Nativity set.

This young lady had no idea what this decoration was, and asked, “What’s a nativity?”

Tracy had been to church and knew about Jesus. She had heard the story of His crucifixion and resurrection. But she had no clue about the Christmas story, so Allie sat down with her, and for thirty minutes, had the privilege of sharing the details of Jesus’ birth and the reason for His coming.  Tracy was fascinated with the story of Christmas.

We need to share this story. After all, it’s not fake news. It’s good news that brings great joy!

(Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, near McCurry Park, and invites you to Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them online at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook.)