Each year during the Christmas season, I try to spend time reading through the “Christmas story” in the Bible. It always strikes me how much fear surrounds this amazing story of the birth of Jesus our Savior.
Zechariah, Mary’s cousin, had great fear when an angel came to him to tell him the news that Zechariah was soon to be a father in his old age. (Luke 1:13 “….Do not be afraid, Zechariah…”)
Mary had fear when an angel visited her to tell her she would soon give birth to the Messiah even though she wasn’t yet married. (Luke 1:30 “….Do not be afraid, Mary….”)
The shepherds were afraid when an angel appeared to them, while they were taking care of their sheep, to tell them about the Savior who had been born. (Luke 2:10 “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid….’”
Fear seems to be one of the common first reactions in this story, and I wonder how many times it is also the common first reaction in our stories. How do we respond when we receive unexpected, surprising news? How do we respond to a change in our plans?
How did Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds respond after their initial reaction of fear?
For Zechariah, once the angel told him God’s plan, he still wasn’t convinced and was unable to speak until after the birth of his son.
For Mary, once the angel told her God’s plan, she understood and believed all the angel told her.
For the shepherds, once they heard God’s plan as spoken by the angel and backed up by a heavenly chorus, they believed all they had heard, then went and confirmed it was true.
Who are you most like? Zechariah, who still needed more convincing? Mary, who accepted willingly? The shepherds, who acted on what they believed to be true after they learned of it?
I know who I want to be like. I want to be like Mary whose faith led to peace in an uncomfortable situation, and I want to be like the shepherds whose excitement over a change in plans led them to worship the newborn King!
Then about thirty years later, it was Jesus who said to his disciples who were afraid during a storm, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Matthew 8:26.
So it seems that Fear = little faith and Fear not = Have faith.
Let’s strive to have faith now and in the coming year. Time spent with the One who is the giver of faith will take care of that.
Posted on Thu, December 18, 2014
by Tricia Greene