Do Not Be Afraid

Has a Christmas Eve sermon ever stuck with you long after the candles were blown out, the tree was untrimmed, and the ornaments were packed away?

Some years ago, I was going through a difficult time. I had no clue what the future held. Life just felt scary.

I didn’t know that things would turn around, and God’s many blessings would once again pour over me. I just knew that I was hurting emotionally and spiritually. The sermon that Christmas Eve happened to focus on not being afraid.

“God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’” (Luke 1: 26-31 NIV)

When Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive, her heart rate and anxiety probably increased substantially. After all, she was a virgin. And gossips were alive and well back then, too, not to mention the stress that would come with trying to explain a pregnancy to her parents and fiancé.

And when the shepherds were out tending their sheep—just minding their own business—again, an angel suddenly appeared. Anyone would be startled. The Bible says they were terrified.

“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. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 8-12 NIV)

Did you know the statement, “do not be afraid,” is used seventy-six times in the Bible? Hmmm …

As we celebrate Christmas, let’s remember that along with the promise of eternal life, Jesus’ birth also brought other blessings. Not only are we free from fearing death, we have the assurance that God will provide for all our needs while we still live on this earth.

So, next time you feel anxious about what’s happening in your life today, or what may happen in the future, just remember the angel’s words.

"Do not be afraid."


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