I’m struck by how many times in the narratives surrounding the birth of Jesus we have to hear the reassurance: “Do not fear.”
Whenever angels show up to deliver a message, that’s the first thing they usually have to say. The angelic visitation to the shepherds was no exception. 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” (Luke 2:10-11).
We habitually need reassurance. After all, fear so easily creeps in when uncertain events arise. That was the case with those shepherds, so God sent a messenger to reassure them. It’s true of all of us as well, isn’t it?
Fear debilitates. It impairs our thinking, acting, and judgment. To quote Frank Herbert in his masterpiece sci-fi novel Dune, “Fear is the mind-killer.”
Fear also causes us, in a desperate effort of self-preservation, to lash out and attack others. Fear prompts defensiveness. It makes us rash. It makes us harsh. It causes us to sin. Fear inhibits our ability to respond to the good things of God rightly. Fear puts up blinders that hinder our ability to see the beauty of God. We need less fear and more faith.
The coming of Christ separates us from our fears.
The incarnation of Jesus was God’s masterstroke of breaking into a broken world with hope and rescue.
In the coming of Christ, and his subsequent atonement work at the cross and empty tomb, sin and fear were conquered.
But also consider, at his anticipated second coming, fear will be ultimately defeated and all things made new. You see, we’re not just invited to fixate on his first coming where Christ arrived and was placed in a manger, but we’re also to keep watchful for his anticipated second coming in the clouds.
When he comes again in glory to receive his own, then we together will inhabit a new heaven and a new earth, then all our fears will vanish. Christians boldly cling to the truth that Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
Today’s world can be scary, and we live in a hostile environment where it is difficult to be fear-free. But amid fear and insecurity, Christians have true peace and security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and let us remember: we can have faith even in the face of fear because we have a heavenly Father who has sent salvation through a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Therefore, fear not.