As we close the 2021 year, we look back on a year of uncertainty, but also of hope, change and growth. This fall as I worked and began my senior year in college I faced new and reoccurring fears of failure, rejection and uncertainty. In November I began to witness, in a variety of ways, how fear was gripping those around me and I had things going on at work and school that were beginning to leave me overwhelmed and afraid (of failing, mostly). After working through situations of my own, and realizing I wasn’t going to be able to fix everything I “needed” and wanted to, I decided that rejecting fear was one of the most important things I needed to share with those around me. And as Christmas approached, the Lord showed me that rejecting fear is a powerful message of the Christmas story. At the end of November, a friend I’ve worked with promoting pro-life causes also gave me a call and mentioned how God was laying it on her heart to set aside a time for Christians to pray about the fear gripping our community (much related to Covid, but even in general). Isn’t it amazing how God will use people around us to reinforce things we have been learning?
This Christmas season I pulled together scriptures from the Christmas story that relate to fear and shared them. Many times angels, sent by God, appeared in the stories telling characters in the Christmas story not to be afraid— of the angels or their message— and to embrace the situation and challenges before them. Whether the message was to Zachariah, Mary, Joseph or the lowly shepherds, I think this message to not be afraid was shared repeatedly for a reason. If we place our trust in Christ we have nothing to fear— Covid, death, failure, other people, or even falling short of our own timeline. Our only fear should be in God.
“And when Zacharias saw him he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, “Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” Luke 1:12,13 KJV
“And when [Mary] saw him, she was troubled at his saying and cast about in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus.” Luke 1:29-31 KJV Then there’s what the angel said to Joseph, “But while [Joseph] thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” – Matthew 1:20 KJV
“And the angel said unto [the shepherds], “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, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:9-10 KJV ). This Christmas may God bless you with His love, and may the message shared with the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth– “do not be afraid,” bless you throughout the holiday and into the 2022 New Year!