The angel said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy!” We really need some of that these days. With Paris and San Bernardino still in the news cycle we are reminded of the evil among us.
And then this past week I received a series of bad news from industry friends.
A publishing friend lost his home to a fire.
A client called to say they’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma which is a cancer of the white blood cells in the bone marrow. Chemo treatments have begun.
Another client lost their mom.
Another received continued difficult news regarding a daughter who has walked away from her marriage after less than a year.
Another was told her father has stomach cancer and major surgery is scheduled next week. Recovery will have to be during Christmas.
Two others called with significant distress over the direction of their careers.
By the end of the week I almost flinched when the phone rang or the email dinged.
Then it just so happened that, yesterday, the Bible class I teach each Sunday looked at the passage in Luke 13:1-5 where there is a story of Jewish Galileans being murdered by Romans and a story of eighteen who died when a tower collapsed in Jerusalem.
In my study research for the class I came across many sermons on this text that were preached right after a horrible tragedy (Columbine, 9/11, and the Amish schoolhouse murders). I then found that Charles Spurgeon had preached on this text in September 1861, right after two terrible train accidents had occurred in London. One killing 23, the other killing 15. Spurgeon wrote:
In reading the newspapers during the last two weeks, even the most stolid must have been the subject of very painful feelings. Not only have there been catastrophes so alarming that the blood chills at their remembrance, but column after column of the paper has been devoted to calamities of a minor degree of horror, but which, when added together, are enough to astound the mind with the fearful amount of sudden death which has of late fallen on the sons of men…The particular subject of this morning, however, is this—the use which we ought to make of these fearful texts which God is writing in capital letters upon the history of the world.
Sounds like he was reading yesterday’s newspaper, not one written 150 years ago.
It puts the challenges we face as writers, editors, and agents in perspective, doesn’t it? We tussle and fight with the economic forces of the industry. We wrestle with discoverability, platform, craft, and the plethora of intense competition. But to what purpose? To get a byline? To get paid?
The world is a dark place. A joy-less place. And it is into this world that the angel’s message came…
“I bring YOU good tidings of great joy.” You. A personal message. Not a generic press release. It is for this reason that we work. Because Jesus is the joy that the world is missing. And we write and edit and publish so that joy can be given to those who need it the most.
Joy to the World? Absolutely.
For the Lord has come.