Fear. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s a trifle, nagging thought. Other times it advances like a relentless, consuming fire.
An element of fear is written on every page of the first Christmas story. In some places it is obvious: “Mary was greatly troubled.” With Joseph, his fear was subdued. “… he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Herod’s fear came out as anger as he contemplated a rival to his throne. The shepherd’s fear was likely visible. Imagine the release of adrenaline after a quiet, starry night explodes with the glory of God.
Four angelic visits accent the Christmas story. A red thread weaves its way through each account. “Do not be afraid.”
Real people. Real pain. Real promise. Real hope for the real fears that assault us. ‘You’re not enough.’ ‘You can’t do it.’ ‘The doctor called.’ ‘The house isn’t selling.’ ‘Dad fell.’
“Do not be afraid.” More than a statement or a demand, it’s a commanding, compelling invitation.
May God’s invitation to “fear not” invade every tear and every fear that threatens to undercut our hope for today, and the New Year before us. Do not be afraid.