The “fear not’s” of Christmas

We live in a very fearful world. Our minds are often filled with worries and fears. We fear the instability of our nation’s security. We fear the very real possibility of economic collapse. We fear what kind of world our children are inheriting. We are concerned for their future. Such fears are nothing new in the history of mankind. At the time of the birth of Christ fear abounded. The Jews found themselves under Roman rule. There was much political upheaval and the possibility of a bloody war was very real. However, the message of that Christmas was simply: Fear Not. I would like to share with four ‘fear not’s’ of Christmas.

The ‘Fear Not’ of Condemnation. Notice what the scripture says in Luke 2:10-11. “And the angel said unto them, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” The angel told the shepherds that he brought ‘good tidings of great joy.’ This ‘good news’ that the angel delivered was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Apart from the Gospel man stands condemned. We were born in sin, we inherited a sin nature. We are totally depraved, touched by sin in every way. God is holy, righteous, and perfect in every way. God is also just. In His justice, sin must be dealt with. Because of sin we stand before God condemned. The ultimate price of sin is eternal death or eternal separation from God in hell. The message that the angel brought on the first Christmas was to fear not condemnation because a Savior has come. Jesus is our Savior who through His death on the cross was the propitiation for our sin. By His shed blood the righteous demands of God where met and justice was served. Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the grave. By His resurrection the condemnation of sin and death has been conquered. Now, all who by faith, believe on the Lord Jesus shall be saved. This is the good news. This is the Gospel. This is why the angel said, ‘fear not’.

The ‘Fear Not’ of the impossible. In the Gospel of Luke chapter one, we find the account of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of the messiah. In Luke 1:30 we read, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.” When I think of that statement I often wonder, have I found favor with God? Is God pleased with me? Is God pleased with me in such a way that He desires to use me in great ways for His glory just like He did with Mary? In verse 35, we find God’s purpose for Mary. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Mary is to be used by God to give birth to the Savior of the world. This announcement takes Mary by surprise for she was a virgin. Has God gone mad? This is crazy! How can a virgin have a child? In verse 37 we read, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” In life, we often face the impossible. There are things that come our way that simply overwhelms us and causes us to tremble. This Christmas, God is telling us to ‘fear not’ the impossible. You may be facing the impossible task of raising a rebellious child. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” You may be facing a long road of treatments for cancer. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” You may have lost a loved one and you struggle to break through a vicious cycle of despair and depression. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” You may have a mountain of debt and financial struggles. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” You may have a friend or loved one that you’ve been praying for years that they would come to know the Lord. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” We may have a God-sized vision for our church and it’s hard to fathom how we can do all that we believe God is leading us to do. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Fear not child of God, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

The ‘Fear Not’ of unanswered prayer. In Luke one we also find the account of Zacharias, the priest, who went to the temple to pray. Zacharias had been praying for years that God would bless them with a son. On this very special and unique day, an angel appears to Zacharias and in verse 13 says, “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call His name John.” There are times when we pray and it seems as if our prayers are falling on deaf ears. There are times when we wonder if God will ever hear and answer our prayers. Sometimes, God may answer our prayers in way that we did not expect or desire. However, we must not fear unanswered prayer, because God does hear. He may not answer the way we want Him to. He may not answer in our timing. But, God does hear our prayer and He answers according to what is best for us and what will bring Him the most glory.

The ‘Fear Not’ of the unknown. Above all other fears, I believe, the greatest fear of all is the fear of unknown. Joseph, the one chosen to be the earthly father of Jesus faces that greatest fear. Joseph hears that his fiancé is pregnant. He is not sure what to think of it. Mary’s story seems unbelievable, yet Joseph loves her and wants to trust her. He is not sure how the community will respond to this news. He is considering ending the marriage all together. But, in Matthew 1:20 we read, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” After Joseph had this experience notice what he does in verse 24. “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.” Joseph had no idea what the consequences of his decision would be. He did not understand. He did not see the whole pictured. Yet, He believed the Lord and he did what he was instructed to do. Sometimes we tread down unknown paths. God does not reveal everything to us all at once. He guides us one day at time. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know what we will have to face. All we must do is trust in the One that does know. Fear not the unknown, for God is with you all the way. He has a plan for you and His way is always the best way.

What do you fear today? Whatever it is: Fear Not. There is good news. Jesus has come and He will take away all of your fears.

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