|Luke 2:8-20||Read Online|
But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.”
—Luke 2:10-11 (HCSB)
Once, when I was in college, I was home for the holidays and had been out late. My mom had stayed up, waiting for me to get home, but the rest of the house was dark. Before I went to bed, my mom pointed out the nativity, sitting on our end table.
To my surprise, baby Jesus was glowing! What seemed like a modern-day miracle was logically explained by the fact that the night light, behind the end table, was reflecting off the lamp shade directly onto baby Jesus. I was amazed by the coincidence.
I went and got my sister. She came downstairs and the two of us stood there marveling at this small wonder. While we were there, my mom, whom I thought had gone to bed, said from the next room, “And behold an angel of the Lord said!”
Startled, I jumped a few feet off the floor. We all got a good laugh, and to this day, it remains one of our family’s favorite Christmas stories.
In that moment, I experienced the same feeling the shepherds felt the night of Jesus’ birth—immediate fear. I really did think I was having an encounter with an angel. But 2,000 years later, the message of the angels is still the same, “Do not be afraid.”
Most of us may not be hiding some big, scary, crazy sin. We may be good, moral people, but I think it’s safe to say we all struggle with worry, anxiety, and fear in small things and big things. It’s enough that the Bible says, “Do not be afraid,” 366 times. (That’s one for every day of the year, including leap year.)
To the Patriarchs in Genesis, Abraham (Genesis 15:1), Isaac (Genesis 26:24), and Jacob (Genesis 46:3): “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
To Joshua (Deuteronomy 3:18): “The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
In Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”
We could go on. It’s a common theme throughout human history. But is that an excuse to simply accept fear? If not, then how do we move past it? Is it simply enough to hear the words, “Do not be afraid”?
What amazes me about each of these passages is that when the command, “Do not be afraid,” is issued, it’s immediately followed with the promise of God’s presence. We have no reason to fear because God is with us. Christ has come to earth. Immanuel. God with us.
If it’s just me, yes, I have every reason in the world to be afraid. I can’t do it by myself. But, praise God I’m not alone!
“I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.”
- What are you most afraid of right now?
- What would you do if fear wasn’t an issue?
- How does knowing God is with you change everything?