Letter from Thomas Kemper
Confidence in God is Basic to Mission
"Don't be afraid!
Here is good news for everyone.
Your savior has arrived, born in Bethlehem.
This announcement came not from a king or president, a legislature or chamber of commerce; it came from God, delivered first in the Gospel of Luke to people tending sheep. Shepherds were not exactly the elite class in first century Palestine. They were rough, distrusted for good reason, and avoided. They may have had a conditioned fear of drawing attention to themselves.
"Lay down all your fear," the angel says. "God is doing something wonderful for you and for all others, too. The Messiah, the anointed, saving One, the source of peace and the sign of God's favor, is here, newborn in Bethlehem. Go see for yourself."
The shepherds went, saw, and returned; praising God and sharing their awesome experience with everyone they met. These disreputable shepherds had become evangelists. Whatever they had been before the angelic visit and their dash to Bethlehem, they were now confident witnesses of God's gracious action.
Confidence in the steadfast and redeeming love of God is essential for mission. We engage in God's mission today because through our encounters with Jesus Christ we have experienced salvation from fear, sin, uncertainty, and evil. We have committed ourselves to share the Good News of Jesus, the Christ throughout the world.
As we once again welcome and celebrate Christmas, let us be thankful that our confidence in God makes us strong in mission, revealing Christ-like love to all people in many ways and places. This newsletter points to the mission work and enthusiasm that continues the story begun more than 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.
Christmas Joy from the General Board of Global Ministries,
General Board of Global Ministries