Good news of great joy!

Good news of great joy!

A promise.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

Can you picture the shepherds the night Christ was born? Before thousands of angels lit up the sky, I like to imagine that the evening for them was quiet, calm, and unassuming. In the dead of night, all you could hear was bleating sheep and quiet chatter. But then, in an instant, a simple field transformed into an amphitheater. Flocks of sheep and lowly men became audience to the greatest anthem and most brilliant light. What a sight; what a sound! And most important, what a promise!

The long-awaited Savior had come! Those heavenly warriors in the sky—stronger than any earthly army—were all subservient to a helpless baby King. And they came with an extraordinary message for the shepherds: “Fear not.” Into a world filled with sorrow, evil, and oppression, a Savior was born. Because of a baby—the Good Shepherd—there was “good news of great joy” for all of humankind.

As I ponder Christmas and what it means for Wheeler’s guests, this passage in Luke is so precious, so personal. Our men, women, and children have walked seasons of displacement, betrayal, loneliness, hunger…and Jesus experienced all that too. His birth announcement may have been magnificent, but His arrival and life couldn’t have been humbler. After all, in all of Bethlehem, the only place to lay his little head was a feeding trough for animals.

Great joy!

Men, women, and children come to us in some of their darkest hours, in most desperate need. And I’m so thankful that we can point them to the Savior who not only sees human pain, but came down to live it Himself. Christ steps into their homelessness, hurt, and chaos. Through His love and power, they need not fear, but instead have great joy. The same joy proclaimed to shepherds—somewhere near Bethlehem 2,000 years ago—is extended to every man, woman, and child we serve. And friends, it’s for you too! This is the beauty of Christmas.

This Christmas at Wheeler Mission, we’ll celebrate how Love came down and changed everything. Just like the shepherds did, we pray our guests meet their Savior and know the Good News of Christmas for themselves. Will you pray that with us?

And speaking of the shepherds, do you what I love most? After the angels disappeared, Luke goes on to say that “they went with haste.” The shepherds RAN to their Savior. This Christmas, and everyday hereafter, may we do just the same!

Merry Christmas!

Rick