“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them; and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:9, KJV)
Have you ever been so fearful that it made you sore? I’m not sure if that’s what the King James translation of that familiar verse about the Christian shepherds really means, but I do understand about being afraid. Perhaps you do too.
One particularly dark and stormy night, a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, “Mommy, will you stay with me all night?” Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.” A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, “That big sissy!”
The Bible is full of people who, like us, were afraid. Afraid of death, persecution, failure, embarrassment…or in the case of the shepherds, afraid of glowing angels appearing in the midst of their sleepy sheep in the middle of the night. All through the story of the “first Christmas” it seems, there were fearful people. And to each, the message was simple: Fear not.
To those shepherds, the angels proclaimed God’s great cure for fear: the good news of the Gospel. “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Good news! That was the point of Jesus’ coming, you know. A Savior was born, Christ the Lord. And because we now have our Emmanuel–“God with us”–we never have to be afraid again.
My biggest concern for our pandemic stricken world these days is how many people–including many Christians–are living in fear. Yes, it’s been a hard year–with a deadly virus, civil unrest, an economy on the edge of collapse, election turmoil, and all kinds of other challenges we have had to face. And who knows what 2021 is going to bring? But like the shepherds watching o’er their flocks by night, we don’t have to be afraid. We are in good hands.
I pray that the presence of Emmanuel may help you to overcome your fears this Christmas season, and all the year long. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. O come let us adore Him…Christ the Lord!