Herald of Good News

Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
Here is your God!
[Isaiah 40:9]


Procession of the Young King (detail), Benozzo Gozzoli.  1459-60. Fresco Chapel, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence.

Mine is an inner, introspective faith. To my friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances I sprinkle something in now and then that indicates I’m religious. Some get more than others depending on the relationship or conversation. I say enough to open a door should someone want to talk more. Periodically I re-post about Westminster on Facebook. I read books written by pastor friends.  I journal in my Bible to think through scripture as it pertains to my life. I pray after my morning run.

But here in Advent this charge calls clear: “lift up your voice with strength” to “herald of good news.”

Herald of good news. Hmmm. Me. Herald.

I have to admit this feels very awkward… and not just because my faith is private but because I expect it to be drowned out by the terrorist attacks, racial tensions, police killings, and political divisiveness – not to mention whatever else is going on in our personal lives. Plus, I’d rather be seen as a calming presence than a Bible-thumping zealot.

As I contemplated on heralding – and the depth of darkness the good news would need to pierce – I heard it. Heralding just for me, coming through the speakers in my kitchen where I write was a song: “I’ve been sending up prayers and something’s finally changed. I think I finally found my hallelujah! I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life, and it’s good to be alive right about now.”

Through the bounce of the tune, the charge to herald good news, and the thought of Christ’s pending birth, I realized I’m fortunate not just because of my faith but because of the life I’d had through it. And while it’s been a steady internal constant for me, I need to use it – or rather herald it – to others. To herald good news of Christ’s birth is to cut through the darkness, the injustice, the fear, the doubts, the anger, the misconceptions, the loneliness, and the sense of loss.

Yes, I found my hallelujah… and you’re going to be hearing about it.

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