Fear not is an important message of the Christmas season
Published 11:48 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021
To the Editor:
Luke 2:10 in the Bible is one of the most quoted verses, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Children anticipating dressing in white sheets and wings try out for the position of head angel in Christmas plays. Eagerly proclaiming “fear not,” sometimes suspended by a harness and ropes from ceilings. We know the line, we quote it. Do we listen to it, do we obey it? “Fear is one of the seven universal emotions experienced by everyone around the world. Fear arises with the threat of harm, either physical, emotional, or psychological, real or imagined.” People are afraid of darkness, heights, spiders, snakes, sharks, social situations and dying. The past two years of illness leading to death from COVID has brought fear that was universally felt. Temporary fear can be a good thing. Fear keeps us from putting ourselves in danger. Fear encourages us to resolve problems so we are in less danger. Fear encourages us to grow in areas. Most things we fear never happen and fear is different from danger. Fear is an emotion and it’s the risk we perceive. Danger is measurable and based on facts. While COVID is dangerous, most aren’t aware heart disease and cancer are more dangerous. When the movie “Jaws” came out it increased people’s fear of sharks and made them more scary but it didn’t change the fact that they aren’t dangerous and only a few people die from sharks each year. Fear is false evidence appearing real.
The Bible in 2 Timothy 3 says in the last days perilous or dangerous times shall come. We have many fears in 2021, however one of the most neglected messages of the Christmas season is fear not. There were fears that the shepherds faced each day. Fear for their livelihood, fear of animals attacking their sheep, fear of government, and fear of illness. The angel’s command of “fear not” wasn’t new. There are over 365 “fear nots” or “do not be afraid,” in the Bible. Jesus often said, “Do not be afraid.” When Jesus walked on the water, to the disciples Jesus said “take courage it is I.” “Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27) The book of Luke has many accounts of Jesus encouraging words to not be afraid. In Matthew 28, “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.'” How then do we react to the Bible command to not fear? People respond in various ways to fear. Some dispel fear with knowledge, others with avoidance. Fear, in part, is a lack of faith. From trusting a chair to hold your weight to trusting the car or airplane mechanic, there is a measure of faith involved. When the Bible continues to repeat the message of not fearing, why do we spend energy on unqualified fear? Christians keeping their eyes on Jesus and His soon coming and remembering God is in control will go a long way in maintaining our peace of mind and reducing fear.
Are we leaning on our own understanding on things that cannot be understood? Are we avoiding the reality that we need God and a relationship with His Son, Jesus? We should practice releasing fear this Christmas season so that Jesus can shine through us to a fearful world? Isaiah 41 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” Fear not is followed by “great joy.” The joy of the Lord Jesus is our strength and our love for and focus on Jesus helps us overcomes fear!
A wonderful show with a Biblical focus for kids is, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” One Christian said look for the climactic scene when Linus shares “What Christmas is all about.” Linus drops his security blanket for the first time ever, when he utters the words, “fear not.” Only the birth of Jesus gives us hope and peace and separates us from our fears. The Bible tells us nothing can separate Christians from the love of Jesus. Not even COVID-19 or the soon coming seven-year tribulation when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. This could be the last Christmas before the rapture of Christians. Max Lucado said, “When Jesus was born, so was our hope.” The Bible says those whose hope is in Jesus will be blessed. While Christians look back and remember with joy the birth of Jesus. Christians are “looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ!” Jesus’ birth was and is “tidings of great joy.” Another “tidings of great joy” is soon coming when Jesus says to his Christian family, “come up here!”