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Posts Tagged ‘#fearnot’

Do Not Be Afraid

Whenever I read the four words, “do not be afraid” in the Christmas story, I have the instantaneous thought, “ya, right!”

Some heavenly being, shining bright like a diamond, is standing in front of me and let me tell you, I would be shaking in my boots.

I think, though, that when angels appeared and said those words, they were actually not speaking of themselves, the messenger, but the message that they were delivering.

Their news was good news, but even good news can cause inner quaking. Ask any woman who discovers she is pregnant, student who discovers they are accepted at their desired university, person who is approved for a house purchase and they will tell you that fear is one of the emotions they are feeling.

The news of the angels was news that was life-changing.

Zachariah, the father of John (the Baptist) was told that his wife would have a baby boy, and that he would prepare people for the arrival of the Messiah.

Mary was told that she (a virgin) would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit, and her child would be the long-anticipated Messiah.

Joseph was told that he could still wed pregnant Mary, who was still a virgin, and that this son would save his people.

Then, the angels came to the shepherds:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 1This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12

In an article called Do Not Be Afraid Fighting Fear With Faith, Bill Dodds says that faith and fear are not exclusive, but fear is easy. Isn’t that the truth?! It is so easy to allow our fears to dominate our thoughts, then they lead our actions.

We all experience fear, that is why we are reminded over and over in the scriptures to cast our anxiety on him.

This is where faith comes into the mix, for faith is a perfect elixir for fear. Faith that God is with us in our muck, Faith is that act of keeping our eyes on God, even as our boots gets sucked into it.

When the angels said, “do not be afraid” they were not saying that things would go smoothly, they were reminding the people that what was coming was coming in conjunction with God’s Good News, and that, as said by St. Gregory, “We do not render true service to God so long as we obey from fear and not from love.” 

 “F-E-A-R has two meanings:
‘Forget Everything and Run,’
or,
‘Face Everything and Rise.'”


Zig Ziglar

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Do-Not-Be-Afraid-1024x399

As Saturday fell, and Sunday rose, so did the first Sunday of Advent … the Sunday of Hope.

It is interesting that the Christmas story, though one of hope, has fear woven through the human experience of heaven’s story.

The angels who came down and spoke to Mary, Zachariah, Joseph and the shepherds in the watching their flocks were aware that their presence, and the message that they were delivering, would cause fear in the hearts of the recipients:

To Zechariah:
“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah!” Luke 1:13

To Mary:
“Mary don’t be afraid …” Luke 1:30

To Joseph:
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid … “ Matthew 1:20

To the shepherds:
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.”” Luke 2:10

It is said that in the Old and New Testaments there are as many exhortations to

DO NOT FEAR

as there are days in a calendar year.

Fear is a reality in our lives … we know it, God knows it.

The Bible doe not exhort, (“communicate emphatically, urging one to do something” Google search) us to not fear, because it is the exception, but because it is the norm.

God, in his wisdom and understanding, knows that we will be anxious, that we will fear in our lives. He knows that we struggle to trust our futures into his hands. He knows us so well!

The message of the Christmas story is not:

fear not, for everything is about to get easier

The Christmas message is:

life is fearful, but you don’t have to walk it alone, for God is with you always.

 

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