ROAD NOT A ROUTE OUT OF BETHLEHEM - FIELDS OF LIFE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS #9
MARY'S COMMITMENT TO HER LABOUR OF LOVE - FIELDS OF LIFE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS # 11

THE FEAR OF NOT BEING AFRAID

Do Not Be Afraid

Luke 1:13; 1:30, 2:10

“Do not be afraid Zechariah…”

“Do not be afraid Mary…”

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Do not be afraid

Even when you are struck dumb by God

Even when an angel sits down beside you

Even when you are told you will have a child without ever being with a man

Even when the pitch black night is ripped to shreds by blinding light

Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid

When you pass through the waters

When you walk through the fire

Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid

When God throws you into the deep end

When God takes you places you have never been before

When God asks you to do what seems impossible

Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid

Because you have found favour with God

Because you are precious and honoured in His sight

Because God is our refuge and strength

Because God will always be with you

Do not be afraid.

There are a lot of reasons to be afraid if you find yourself in the birth stories of Jesus. Zechariah, Mary and the shepherds. I mean I always imagine that for Zechariah and Mary it was as quiet a visitation of an angel as is possible. Frightened but altogether private at least. 

That hillside on there other hand. I have always wondered how absolutely terrified the shepherds must have been on a quiet dark evening when the sky was lit up with an angel choir! “Do not be afraid” - yeh sure thing! Note sure it would have settled my quaking! Such moments were often read, in those days, as apocalyptic; judgement has arrived. You can understand them needing the angel’s reassurance!

Apparently, “do not be afraid”, is the most often used command in the Scriptures. Every time I ponder these four words, I wonder if I should hear them more often. Is my life too safe and comfortable?

The opening chapters of Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels seem to suggest that connecting with God and getting involved in his story of redemption should crack open our comfort zones and throw us off kilter into new kingdom bringing adventures.  

Perhaps if we are not needing to hear a “Do not be afraid” from God we are not living in the dangerous and risky places where his subversive revolutionary Kingdom comes. Where might we move in God’s Spirit that we will need to hear these words in the year that lies ahead?

PRAYER: Lord, Put me in places this year where I will need to hear your reassuring words DO NOT BE AFRAID. Lead me into situations that are frightening simply because you are there and doing things through me. Amen. 

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