Fear Not

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of 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.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 (ESV)

It seems like a common story.  We come home after a busy day at work and turn on the television.  And, there it is.  The events of the day are played out on our screens in living color and in stereo sound.  What we see startles us.  Everything is wrong and nothing is right.  It’s all falling to pieces.  The news grabs our attention, but fear grabs our hearts.  Every day it’s the same.  Whether it’s the television, the internet, newspapers, magazines, emails or office gossip.  The medium is different, but the story is the same.  So is the reaction.  A sense of being overwhelmed and afraid.

On the first Christmas night, a group of shepherds were simply doing their jobs when an angelic messenger came to them.  The angel startled them, but quickly spoke to calm their anxieties.  “Fear not.”  Two simple words introduced the greatest message ever delivered.  Two simple words filled with hope and comfort.  Fear not.

The angel went on to announce good news of great joy.  The Messiah had come.  Salvation was at hand.  Jesus was born.  And, with this blessed event, everything has changed.  Darkness gives way to light.  Doubt gives way to promise.  Fear gives way to hope.

Often, we don’t need the news to know that things are tough.  The circumstances of our own lives are enough to fill us with fear and anxiety.  Peace in the Middle East?  We can’t even have peace in our own living room.  Crumbling economy?  We can’t even pay our own bills.  What does the future hold?  More importantly, who holds the future?

Let me calm your hearts with these two simple words.  Fear not.  Jesus has come.  He has bridged the gap between us and God, and He has promised us His eternal presence.  In Him, we have hope.  In Him, we have confidence.  In Him, we have the promise of Christmas.  Fear not.  Embrace this good news and be filled with great joy.  Our problems may still be there at the end of the day, but in Christ we have the strength to move through them towards our ultimate destination.  So, hang on.  Cling to Jesus.  Fear not.

Further Reading:  Psalm 56; Hebrews 13