Fear is something we all experience whether it is fears about our finances, relationships or health. We have fears about death – the death of a loved one, our own death, we have fears about the crazy world we live in with such terrorism and hatred and hardness. If we’re not careful we can live in such a spirit of fear and worry over all the things that might happen. I really believe the question that you and I need to be asking ourselves is, “Do you live with hopeful anticipation or a fear of the future?” I believe the Christmas story holds such important ideas for us when it comes to dealing with fear.
#1 DO NOT BE AFRAID
First of all, when the angels came to Joseph the first thing they said was, Don’t be afraid. When the angels came to the shepherds the first thing they said was, Don’t be afraid. The message of the Christmas story is you don’t have to be afraid. It’s what the story is about. This shall be a sign for you – a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, God coming in the midst of our darkest nights.
#2 GOD IS WITH US
Secondly, I believe it is through the Christmas story that you and I come to be reminded that we don’t have to face our fears alone. The angel came to Mary and to Joseph to say, God is with you. In fact, the angel said to Joseph, You shall name your son Emmanuel which means God with us. The first thing that Mary and Joseph come to know is God’s presence. They know God is with them and that helps them to stick things out together. To know you’re not alone does so much to help you face your fears.
#3 GOD’S GRACE GIVES US COURAGE
Third, I believe the story tells us that we can face our fears no matter what because of God’s grace. It doesn’t mean our fears go away, but God’s grace gives us the courage to face whatever comes our way. God promises to give us wisdom and strength from beyond ourselves.
Sometimes, we worry that we’re not good enough or that we haven’t said, done or believed the right things and that leads us to question whether or not we are worthy of God’s grace. When you truly follow Jesus, you will discover that Jesus didn’t have a problem with people who were less than perfect people or people who had questions. The truth of the matter is God’s grace is for all of us. Everyone. You don’t have to be good enough to deserve it.