I’ve got good news and bad news …

When someone says to you, “I’ve got good news and bad news, which do you want first?” how do you answer?

I usually want the bad news first, that way I can finish the exchange with some good news.

That’s a little like the way God has communicated with us through Christmas. Before the world received the good news of the birth of a Savior came the bad news that we all needed one. Before there was, “Immanuel! God with us!” there first comes an indictment, one which the Apostle Paul describes like this:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard,” Romans 3:23.

That first Christmas was initiated from a very different reason that we exchange gifts today. Think about it — how many people do you give Christmas gifts to who have rejected you and openly become your enemy? We exchange gifts with the people we love the most; on that first Christmas Day, God was giving His most precious gift to a world that had sinned against Him.

First, there’s the bad news, then comes the good. Paul put them together like this:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:23.

On Christmas, God didn’t decide just to give away His Son to the world because He was feeling generous; He gave what was most precious to Him because we would be utterly lost without that specific gift. He loved us that much!

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16.

The great joy of the good news of Christmas can only fully be understood in the context of the bad news that precedes it. Putting the two together, we see the love and grace in God giving His gift.

Have you heard the good news?