In the opening chapters of the Gospel of Luke, we encounter some of the first people to be informed of the imminent unfolding of God’s master plan, and they were scared:
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.”
In response to their fear, the angel issues true words of consolation and comfort:
“ …‘FEAR NOT, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV, emphasis added).
We each are having to recalibrate our fear meters after months and years of high anxiety and legitimate worry about our world, our society, and our families, and the angelic instruction — FEAR NOT — resounds with particular poignancy.
I invite you to join me in rejecting fear and reorienting ourselves to the reality of God’s promise of His presence, made manifest in His choice to dwell among us in Jesus. He is the source of the true hope that overcomes our fears and anxieties and whose light casts out the darkness.
In closing, a friend of mine shared this poem by Madeleine L’Engle that has been a blessing to me this Advent:
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Have a Merry Christmas, and FEAR NOT,