“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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 the Messiah, the Lord...”
Some like to think that we are much better off than those poor shepherds in the fields that night long ago, while others have their doubts about that with today’s news consistently bringing us stories of economic, military and political dangers. These perceived dangers raise our fear and anxiety levels as well as the threat levels. They also lower our trust of one another, decrease our hope for the future of our children and grand-children, and diminish the long sought-after dream of peace for all the world.
The words from the Gospel of Luke remind us that we have a different story to tell with a far different outcome: that God entered the world in human form to bring us GOOD NEWS! This same God continues to enter the world in human form so that we are accompanied in these places of anxiety and fear, perceived threats, and longing for peace. God’s light shines into our current darkness and ignites the light within each of God’s children. When we combine our light with that of God and one another, we join the way for peace and joy to thrive in this world. While grief and sadness will always be a part of the human experience, this light makes it possible for us to see our way forward and to hold this grief and sadness with tenderness and deep compassion.
Our Camp and Retreat Ministries are far from Bethlehem geographically, yet we provide places for pilgrims to lay their heads and experience the in-breaking of the Divine light and love of Christ. I am grateful for all of you who have joined this light to offer these beautiful and life-altering places for the weary pilgrims who yearn for comfort, joy, peace, light and the love of God.