I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Christmas and fear are often linked.
They’re often linked in the classic carols. The most recognizable line, I think, is from Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Fear is a common in the Matthew and Luke's telling of the Christmas story.
And if you drill down into most of the fear expressed in the Christmas story, there’s almost always an angel involved.
Angels are not the cuddly, cute beings they’re often portrayed to be.
Read the description of the angel in Daniel 10 or in Isaiah 6. You’ll never decorate your newborn’s room with drawings of these angels!
I have a theory I’ll expand on this weekend: Since angels often show up looking like humans in the Bible, I have to conclude that when they don’t, they want to scare people. They might even enjoy doing it.
In this weekend’s sermon passages, angels speak with Mary and Joseph. And they tell Mary and Joseph not to be afraid. But in both cases, it’s not about being startled by the angel, like the shepherds were startled; it’s more about the news they bear.
For us, the announcement of the birth of Jesus fills us with wonder and warm fuzzies, but for Mary and Joseph it was frightening and overwhelming.
They were told they were about to become the parents of God.
You and I have lots of fears.
Craig Groeschel, in Soul Detox, writes: “Fear poisons us a little each day if we don’t face it head-on and nullify its power.”
How do you nullify fear's power?
Begin by listening and understanding the words of the angels to Mary and Joseph. The core of their message to them is a message for nullifying the power of fear, and it’s the core of this weekend’s sermon.
Who do you know that needs to learn how to nullify the fear that is poisoning their life a little each day?