The joyful good news of the birth of Jesus Christ can and should be celebrated despite the deluge of 'bad news' facing the world today, said the head of the World Council of Reformed Churches in his 2012 Christmas Message.
The Rev. Setri Nyomi of the Geneva-based WCRC, began the message released on Friday with scripture from Luke 2:10-12, as an angel announced the birth of the savior.
"Do not be afraid; for see-I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger."
He said that in celebrating Christmas this year "we have another opportunity to celebrate the good news of great joy."
"Good news of a great joy? How can this be when we are surrounded by so much bad news?" he said.
He went on to list a string of "bad news" in the headlines over the past year and ongoing problems, ranging from the recent killing of children in Connecticut, the war in Syria, economic challenges for some people in the 'Global South' and the poor in some European nations, among others.
The Rev. Nyomi also spoke of people's condition 2,000 years ago, when Christ was born, noting that many were also living in "the margin" at the time, especially the ones who first met the newborn.
"Can we really talk about good news of great joy this Christmas 2012 and as we prepare to enter 2013? Yes we can! Two thousand years ago, Bethlehem was a town in a land occupied by the then Roman empire. The people in the land were oppressed politically and economically, and conflicts were not too far away," he wrote.
He noted shepherds, who greeted Jesus were "among the least in status and had the least paid jobs."
He spoke about the "good news" being for all, especially for people on the edges of society.
"The church can be God's instruments for announcing the good news of great joy that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ brings," he said.
"This is news that we can bring to those who live in fear and who experience all the bad news and incidents of injustice in the world. This is news for all – including the poor, the marginalised, victims of injustice and those who are suffering everywhere. When the King of Kings was born, he laid in a manger – not in a golden crib in a mansion. The birth of Jesus spells good news and hope. Let us rejoice in it, let us live it, let us proclaim it."