Sometimes during the Christmas season, the Christmas story from the Bible is running in the background, but seldom actually read. This year I read it or heard it read at least a dozen times.
That particular story has so many side stories and when it is read, new truths appear. This Christmas season, for me the truth that dominated from beginning to end was "fear not." It wasn't until Christmas day had passed that I knew one reason that particular phrase was highlighted to me.
The story from Luke tells about the angel coming to Mary. He tells her that she is highly blessed and will conceive the Son of God. When she is troubled at the angels appearance, he told her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God." (Luke 1:30)
Joseph was also visited by an angel in a dream. Among other things, the angel said, "Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1: 20)
The shepherds were also afraid when the angel of the Lord stood before them. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people." (Luke 2:10)
In sending His Son, God was telling them — and us — "fear not."
There would be many times that Mary and Joseph needed to remember that encouragement. When Jesus was left behind in Jerusalem, they were typical parents and I'm sure they were filled with fear. When they saw Jesus highly criticized by people, I'm sure there was fear in their hearts. When Jesus was falsely accused and beaten and finally hung on a cross to die, Mary must have lived with exceeding great fear. How often did she remember those words, "fear not?"
It was between Christmas and New Years that I visited an eye doctor and heard the words cataracts and macular degeneration. Immediately, great fear filled my heart. I've seen my mother go blind except for big forms and movements. What would happen to me?
But, in the midst of that fear, I remembered the Christmas story and the words, "fear not." I remembered Mary asking the angel how all this could be that she would give birth to the Son of God. His answer was in Luke 1: 37, "For with God nothing will be impossible."
Not only was that assurance important to Mary, but it was also important to me. "Fear not." "For with God nothing will be impossible." In other words, God has it all under control. He can do all that He pleases and was not surprised by any news Mary or I received.
What did the Christmas story say to you this year? What part did the Holy Spirit bring to life? We live in uncertain times. "Fear not" and believe God will do the "impossible." The Bible says it. Do you really need more proof?
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