Christmas begins with a message from God not to be afraid. “Fear not! Do not be afraid!” these were the words of the angel who spoke to Zachariah, Mary, Joseph and finally to a group of shepherds on the Bethlehem hillside.
Modern man is filled with fear. He is afraid of nature. He is afraid of his neighbor. He is afraid of himself! There are many issues looming on the horizon today, threatening him! Who can free him from the jaws of fear?
Christmas brings an encouraging message
“Do not be afraid; I bring you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11) Christmas bring this encouraging message that God is “Emmanuel”, who is residing with us sharing our joys and sorrows.
This has been the message of Jesus from the beginning till his dearth. He tells all to caste away all fears and trust in the protection of God the Father. Fear has a way of tying knots in our stomachs, paralyzing our thinking and inducing panic in our life. Fear accompanied by worry can attack our hearts when we see ourselves caught in a vortex of disasters beyond our control.
Look at nature
Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount tells about tiny, defenseless sparrows which are without fear and worry, assuring us of more providential protection from God. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink… Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6: 25-26)
Computer-era man caught in fear!
Man is afraid of everything today. Many parts of the world are caught in the grip of an economical down-spiral. Factories are being closed. People are losing jobs. Cost of foods is increasing by leaps and bounds pushing man into an abysmal despair. Recession, terrorism, violence, unrest due to disparities of creed, color, etc. are frightening the technological man questioning his security! The hanging sword, ‘What will happen next?’ is threatening every one.
It was the same on the First Christmas
The world was in the grip of fear at the time of first Christmas also. Political uncertainty was making the Israelites desperate. A census was ordered by the Roman Emperor to add burdens to the people. Blood-monger Herod the Great was the king of the Jews crushing the people under his rule. More and more taxes to Caesar and Herod! Winter and cold was the season when Joseph and Mary were searching for a place for delivery! Every door they knocked was shut on their face with a bitter remark, “No place”!
At last, the poverty-stricken carpenter Joseph and his wife in advanced pregnancy, far from home and chilled to the bone, had to be satisfied with a cave of animals! Why is like that? What will happen next? These questions might have risen in them. Mary would have recalled the words of the angel who appeared before her on the day of annunciation. “Do not be afraid, Mary…” (Luke 1:30)
Fear not! God is with us!
The same message echoed on the windswept hillsides outside of Bethlehem, where the shepherds were huddling. “Fear not, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10) The shepherds’ fear turned into joy!
Fear not! That is the Christmas message
The world thinks that Christmas is about gifts under a tree and a feasting with Christmas dinner. But real Christmas is sharing and casting away fears from every heart with hopeful love.
A Savior is born to us. He is with us to free us from fear. He is here to protect us from our troubles and trials. “He never leaves us nor forsakes us” (13: 5, 8) He is here saying, “Set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God all these things will also be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33)