The other morning I woke up and read the news on my CNN phone app. It struck me so I took a picture of what I was reading. The entire home page read about gunmen opening fire in foreign countries killing people in a mall, priests meeting up with teenagers for sex, teenagers killing teenagers and on and on and on.
It’s not so much that I think we should fluff things up and tell stories of unicorns and fairies and trips to Disneyland while countries are at odds, people are deranged and children are dying of cancer. Yet, it feels so heavy to read such horrid news that seems to scroll down the news page into forever. I took this picture and then moved on with my day. Rushing out the door, when normal people should be sleeping because we had a football game, I forgot about the news and the picture. When we got home, my husband got the mail and handed it to me on his way out to work. I opened an envelope that read “To the parents of Aidan Weston”. It sounded official, but I assumed it was probably a school calendar or a note from the superintendent and like I would read that. I mean who reads those? (No offense, Mr. Important Official who I should be more grateful for.) So I opened it up….
This past year, we as a family have been walking a struggle with our son and have quietly undergone a lot of tests and meetings at the school, received a lot of help academically and have had to work overtime at home to help our son push through some obstacles he faces and might always face. The teachers were commenting that they see in him a work ethic that they don’t see in a most kids as he was working his booty off to make up for the hardship, the lack of ease and the constant temptation to believe he wasn’t good enough to cut it in school. What came in the mail were the results of his test scores after all of this. He was excelling in math! His numbers fell in the advanced category! And he is right where he should be in writing and reading! This was GOOD NEWS! Yeah, o.k., so the Middle East didn’t declare peace and Miley Cyrus didn’t wake up and confess she should stay away from foam hands, but for our family and for our boy, you have no idea the tears, the extra hours, the worry and the prayers that felt calmed at this moment! Good news!
So I looked at Aidan and I said loudly, “We need to celebrate! This is a big deal! You have worked so hard and now you get to see the results of your hard work! I am so proud of you! This is good news! How do you want to celebrate?” He said: “I want a BigMac, (because we never get those…) a milkshake and a new football!” I said “Done!” He looked at me like he won the lottery and we headed out the door for a heart attack and some pigskin.
It struck me…I remembered that picture of bad news….and here we were experiencing good news!
In the midst of all that is bad news, we should be celebrating the good news!
I called a friend who has seen first hand the struggle to tell her the good news! Then I thought since we are on a good news celebration train I will put out on Facebook that if anyone else had good news to share we would bring them coffee or ice cream wherever they were and we would celebrate with them! Of course there was good news to be had in New York City, Texas and Spokane! I had to clarify that we would be delivering in our town as the idea of driving across the country to deliver a latte sounded like bad news! So people started sharing and it was beautiful! I had people share on the post as well as as private message me. So we went to homes and jobs and joyfully said “Congratulations!” People got a chance to share their good news. And then we got to share Aidan’s good news! We hugged and took pictures! There was something good for our souls to actually put words to the things that were going well and were giving us hope. And there was something good for our souls about celebrating for another person and they for us. It couldn’t have been a better way to spend a sunny Saturday than being the good news crew!
Suzanne who tirelessly works as a Sunday school director has struggled with a debilitating chronic illness and shared that she is starting to feel better and that feels like a miracle! GOOD NEWS! And does not hearing that good news give hope to those who have been walking a long hard road of something that seems like it will never change?
Jonathan who had had a hard long week received great news at work and has been promoted. GOOD NEWS! And doesn’t his news inspire those of you who want to see movement from where you are to where you are going? I have to say that when this newly appointed manager got on his knees to celebrate with a ten year old in the middle of his store, I could have cried! No wonder he got promoted!
Clay’s shiner was healing! And this was GOOD NEWS because he had gotten it at our house the day before playing a scrap game of football. To celebrate with him, of course coffee wasn’t going to cut it, so Aidan brought him their favorite treat, Cheetos and candy!
There were stories of people who were clean and sober for a month and had given up their alcohol and weed addiction and that is GOOD NEWS! Stories of fitting into jeans and getting into college! GOOD NEWS! Stories of forgiving someone who had deeply hurt them. GOOD NEWS! Stories of getting married and finding community where community seemed lacking before. GOOD NEWS! There was a story of a computer shutting off and not coming back on. And why was that good news? Because it was at work! When we start sharing good news with each other, the stories too keep scrolling down the page into forever!
It is interesting because we have a God of good news! When the angel came and described Jesus’ coming, he said “I bring you good news of great joy for all people!”
Of great joy.
For all people.
And somewhere along the way, the good news has been turned into bad news! We have taken what brings peace and made war. We have taken Who rescues and turned Him into what destroys. We have taken Who is good and made Him out to be bad. Not only is Jesus described as good news, but his people are supposed to be those whose feet deliver good news! How have we forgotten that and turned into CNN’s spokespeople? How have we turned a God who brings life into a God who brings death? How have we turned a God who frees us from rules into a God who hands them out like crazy? How have we made good news for only some people? The good news is for all people! We aren’t a people of bad news. We are a people of good news! And it’s in the midst of bad news, we should more than ever declare the good. It is in the midst of war, that we should be bringing peace. It is in the midst of darkness, that we should shine light.
This morning I walked to school to drop my daughter off. As I left, another mom hollered at me to walk over to her car in the rain. She reached in to grab something and handed me a coffee. She had been listening to the stories of good news! She hugged me and it was in that moment that I knew God said “Good news is contagious!” Keep celebraing with one another your good news, however small or seemingly insignificant, and however big. It is more contagious than measles and it shines light and hope into the lives of those who might need just that story to fuel them to keep pushing through!