Monday, December 19, 2011

Tis’ the Season for Fear!

We don't normally associate fear with Christmas.  But, as you read the Christmas story you will see that almost every participant in the birth of Christ experienced fear, uncertainty, or danger.  And, many times they were told to not be afraid.

Here are some examples, in chronological order:
Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.”  Luke 1:12-13

But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”  Luke 1:30

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew 1:20

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;”  Luke 2:8-10

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem.  Matthew 2:3

And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.  Matthew 2:12

Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”  Matthew 2:13

But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”  Matthew 2:22-23

We’ve taken the FEAR out of Christmas.  After all, the birth of the Christ was an amazing event that was both wonderful and fearful.  We should, on one hand, remember the terrifying sight of the angels proclaiming Christ’s birth.  And, we should not forget the murderous rage of Herod. 

On the other hand, we should “not be afraid” as we trust God and marvel at His awesome plan to bring salvation to earth through the birth of His Son.

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