December 3, 2014 by Pastor Ben McIntire
Fear Not. Yeah, right.
In a day and age of nuclear missiles, Ebola virus, war in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, terrorism, school shootings, kidnapped children, cancer, climate change and pollution, national debt and international crime, not to mention deadlines, bills to pay, and the looming specter of holiday shopping… Fear not.
This Advent, as always, we watch and wait for Christ’s return. The Bible too, is full of fearful portents in those final days before the return of the King; some so familiar sounding that many people continue to prophesy that we are in the End Times right now. Wars, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, plagues and famines, destruction, violence; it seems like a ripe time for God to step in, once and for all.
But that is exactly what God did, he stepped into our human story, into Nazareth and the family of Joseph, Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth and John, into the people of Israel and the dirt of this planet. And the wonder of this event, at its announcement, required the messengers, the angellos in Greek, to start each speech with the words, “Fear not.”
It is into this world of sin, the blaring messages of scarcity, materialism and fear, that another voice speaks. It is the same voice that Zechariah heard telling him he would become a father in his old age. It is the same voice that told Mary she would be the virgin mother of God. It is the voice that told Joseph he would be the earthly, adopted father responsible for raising the Messiah. And it is the same voice that called to the people of Israel, over and over again–calling them Chosen, Beloved, and Blessed. It is a voice that says, “Do not fear. You are good, because I made you in my own image, knit you together in your mother’s womb. I know exactly who you are with all your wrinkles and warts, your sins and secrets, I know you completely and still I love you. I came to earth for you, died on the cross for you, and defeated death so we could be together. I love you, I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Fear not, for we have received Good News. The angels proclaimed it to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks by night: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill toward men. For unto you is born, in the City of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the comfort, joy, and hope that you give by your Holy Spirit. Help me not to fear and to live joyfully in the promise of the Savior. Amen