If you read through the Christmas narratives in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, an interesting element seems to appear with a greater frequency than we might think. It occurs to me that, when the announcement of the coming of the Messiah was spoken, it was repeatedly accompanied with one form or another of the message, “Don’t be afraid.” The spiritual climate in Israel in those days seems to have been one that was frozen with fear. The political atmosphere was unstable as Herod was violent and unpredictable. Rome was oppressing the Hebrews as Rome was dominating most of the known world at that time. To top it all off, four hundred years had passed since God has communicated to His people through a commissioned prophet. Times were difficult and dry. A threatening scent regularly hung in the air. Religious leaders had exchanged the covenants from God for a very long, impossible list of Do’s & Don’ts. Hope was a rare commodity and into this type of atmosphere God dispatched angels to tell some of His people that a monumental moment on Heaven’s calendar had arrived. The day had arrived when fear would begin to die.
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11
Gabriel, Heaven’s messenger, told Mary not to fear. Joseph received the same call to not be afraid when Gabriel explained to him concerning Mary’s pregnancy. When the angelic choir exploded in brilliance across the nighttime sky, the blue-collar shepherds were initially terrified until one of the angels commanded them to stop quaking and to start celebrating.
The Messiah was coming to earth to save His people.
Much like Jesus’ first advent will be His second. The world is shrouded in fear today and this will likely not change until the Prince of Peace comes to unveil His kingdom. Violence is abounding and there is no human reason for us to hope that it will lessen in our lifetime. Merciless authorities can be found on each continent and the visible status of Christendom is not exactly proving itself to be spectacular. Unbelievers are living in fear all over the planet as they look for some man or woman to arise and bring order into the global chaos. Those who align themselves with Jesus Christ are plaintively crying out for rescue and relief as they are paying an awful price at the hand of violent Islamists for their allegiance to their King. Those who trust in their nation’s currency have a rude awakening coming soon as economic prophets wring their hands before a powerless altar. Frankly, the horizontal view for humanity is bleak. Bleak indeed. But we are people with vertical vision, and our ears have been opened as Mary’s, Joseph’s and the shepherds’ ears were long ago. We hear the anthem of Heaven coming down to us in perfect harmony as the Father sings over us, “Fear not, little children. Fear not, because your redemption draweth nigh.”
This Christmas, receive the gift of peace. The Holy Spirit will birth great and lasting peace in our hearts if we make it our desire. He will anchor calm in our souls, certainty in our minds and steadiness in our hands as we live out these final days. How many days are left before Jesus returns? I have no idea, but I do not wish to waste any more of them in any measure of fear. He is coming. He is returning. He will rectify. He will rescue. He will renew. He will repay. His enemies will bow before Him and confess His preeminence. From north, south, east and west, Jesus Christ will draw out every ounce of glory due to His matchless name. Angels will continue to sing His praise, but they will not do so without our joining them in eternal and glorious harmonies. All our questions will be abolished, along with the innumerable fears that attach themselves to those questions. Anxiety will become a relic of a never to be repeated past. Joyful laughter will usurp lamenting tears and groans of dread. Our inheritance will not be denied us, and Christmas is the time of year when we are reminded by our bibles and by God’s Spirit that, what Jesus accomplished 2,000 years ago in a generation stricken with fear, He will do the same in our generation when He invades earth again. This time, there will be no infant’s cry under the night sky of Bethlehem. This time there will not be anonymity and a closed inn. This time it will not be left to a handful of scruffy shepherds alone to announce the good news. No…
This time, there will be a shout that reverberates throughout the universe and every eye will behold Him, every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Amen and Hallelujah.
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