As we prepare for the upcoming Christmas season, here’s a look back at the 2019 Christmas Message from General Brian Peddle, The Salvation Army’s International Leader
By Brian Peddle, General
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child (Luke 2:17).
When you experience something good, you just can’t help talking about it. That may be a memorable meal, a good book, an enjoyable film, stirring music, dramatic theater or beautiful countryside. Whatever the experience, it leaves such an impression on us that we want to share it with others. We have to share it! Good news needs to be shared.
These days, when people discover they are expecting a baby, many find creative ways to share the news; some hold parties to reveal the gender of the unborn baby; some have parties and—when the child is finally born—they announce it loud and clear.
Jesus’ birth was announced through a new, bright star that appeared in the sky. An angelic choir burst into song to communicate the great news.
Unsuspecting shepherds were looking after their sheep, like any other night, when the sky lit up and they heard the most astonishing news in a most spectacular way. An angel appeared to personally deliver a message to the shepherds (Luke 2:9-12). This was a detailed message—the angel clearly described who Jesus was (2:11) and how they would find him (2:12). So the shepherds journeyed to the manger and found Jesus “just as they had been told” (2:20).
Such was the impact of their experience on the hillside and in the stable, they just had to tell other people about it. The news was so joyous and tremendous that they couldn’t keep it to themselves. The news about Jesus brought light into the darkness of a shattered world. Like the shepherds, we need to realize that this good news is not just ours—it needs to be shared.
In my message to Salvationists and friends, employees and supporters this Christmas, I’m calling us to have a renewed confidence in the gospel. John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and prepared the way for Jesus. God sent his one and only son into this world to save it. Jesus then sent out his disciples to preach the good news, perform miracles and make disciples. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to share the gospel in a myriad of languages and empowered the early church to spread the story of the Savior to new lands and new people.
The apostle Paul declared: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). We are a Salvation Army—the gospel is the saving message we preach in words and express in actions.
The good news of Jesus brings hope to those who are lost, light to those in darkness, joy to those in despair. It offers real transformation to the person who is caught in addiction, disillusioned by materialism or seeking purpose and direction. We share the gospel because we have experienced its truth and power for ourselves, and we know, personally, the “author and perfecter,” so we have confidence in the gospel’s transformative power on others.
This Christmastime and beyond, let us follow the example set by the angels and shepherds. Let us use every opportunity and every means possible to spread the word about who Jesus is while showing people where they can find him so that they too can have a saving, personal relationship with the living Christ. It’s not just good news—it’s the best news. Let’s share it!