A Christmas to Fear Not
The shepherds were probably pretty freaked out by what they were seeing and experiencing, and God probably knew they couldn’t pay attention to what they really needed to hear if their fear overwhelmed them.
I totally get that. The fear part. In all honesty (and honesty alone can be scary because it exposes us and leaves us vulnerable), one of the things I struggle with the most since losing Roger is this. This “fearing not.” In my life. My home. My work. My relationships. In my loss and in my grief. And I find it quite amazing the power that fear can have if I let it.
It seems like a pretty big deal to God too, this not letting fear overwhelm us. Did you know that trusting Him and not being afraid shows up in almost every book in the Bible? Not only that, but in the Christmas narrative alone there are four “fear nots.”
- And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’ – Luke 2:10-11
- ‘Fear not, Mary,…the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you:…For with God nothing shall be impossible. – Luke 1:30, 35, 37
- ‘Fear not, Zacharias: for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elisabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’ — Luke 1:13
- ‘Joseph, son of David, fear not to take Mary as your wife’…Then Joseph…did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him. – Matthew 1:20, 24
It’s like God gets it. He gets us. (Imagine that.) He knows that when we are afraid we become almost incapacitated. Trapped. Stifled. Unable to move forward. Unable to be open to the new. The possibilities. The powerful. The life-changing. Unable to be open to Him. It’s hard for us to hear His voice through a cacophony of anxiety. It’s hard for us to meet with Him when we’re hiding in dismay. We can’t see Him when we’re too afraid to look up.
So God gifts us with what is at once an admonition–to rise above our fear—and a promise, that there is no need to fear. Because He is here. He is with us. God with us. Emmanuel.
And if I’m going to have one new year’s resolution this year, it will be this. To “fear not” more. To trust God and in so doing experience more peace than anxiety, more hope despite loss, and more joy even when there is pain.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. … For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” — Isaiah 4:10, 13
So fear not. He is here. On Christmas day and any given day. And always, always with good tidings of great joy.