As I began to read Luke at the start of this season, I felt a message for Christmas bubbling up inside. I was so excited that I shared this idea with my hubby. It went something like this…
Me: I have this message for Christmas for a blog post.
Hubby: What is it?
Me: “Don’t be afraid!” As I began to read Luke, it’s the first words that the angels spoke to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and even the shepherds because they were bringing Good News of great joy. News of the Messiah. A Savior. The Prince of Peace. The Light of the world.
Hubby: I believe you are taking that out of context. The reason the angels said “Don’t be afraid” is because the angels appeared suddenly in dazzling, brilliant light to these people. Wouldn’t you be terrified, too? Of course, they had to say “Don’t be afraid.”
Hubby: Are you coming over the table at me? (haha)
Me: Ugh! Ok. Fine. I will go back and look at the context.
So after that brief discussion, I went back to the scriptures. And, maybe he was right. Ok. Fine. He was right. But, you don’t have to tell him I said so. Haha. (Ok, I actually told him. It’s all good.)
In this case, the angels were speaking specifically to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds because they had literally freaked them out. However, the GOOD NEWS they came to deliver was for all people and exactly why this message for Christmas is still “Don’t be afraid.”.
The angels were sharing “good news of great joy” that a Messiah was coming. A Savior. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace. Immanuel-God with us.
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in the land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2
That light is Jesus.
It doesn’t take much for fear to start to creep into my soul. Just scroll the news feed or Facebook for a minute. The world can seem really dark at times. And, my spirit can become heavy. Just in the past few weeks, we have had friends and family that have been hurting from divorce, broken relationships, way too early death to disease and to devastating, unexplainable darkness, discriminatory attitudes, overwhelming anxiety from doctor’s diagnosis, doubt, and discouragement.
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”” John 8:12 NLT
We don’t have to fear darkness. We don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to worry.
We have Jesus.
And, he said:
“DO NOT let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me.” John 14:1 AMPC
Believe and trust.
It is what we have been studying for the last several months in the SHE believed series with my women’s group (click on links below to read the series). We must develop a foundation of trust by believing God’s promises for our life. We need to THINK on truth, REMEMBER all God has done, REST in his goodness, UNLOAD our cares, SING songs of praise, SERVE others, and give THANKS. These foundational principles will carry us through when the darkness tries to overtake us. Why? Because these principles point us to God’s promises that are ultimately fulfilled by Jesus.
“And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].” 1 John 1:5 AMPC
Jesus recognized and even warned us that this world was full of trouble. We can’t avoid it. But, we can be prepared. We can build a foundation of trust in Jesus that will carry us through. So that we don’t have to be afraid. We have nothing to fear because “perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
He said: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” John 16:33 AMPC
He has overcome this world. He has overcome death and darkness. And, he came so that we may overcome, too.
At a celebration of life service this past weekend for a family member whose life ended in an utterly tragic way, one of the speakers said this: “Darkness did not have the final word. Jesus did. She is now in the arms of Jesus. Without pain, suffering, or tears.” If we believe and trust in Jesus, there is always hope even in the darkest moments.
The message for Christmas is this:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27 NIV
This message comes straight from Jesus. Good News of great joy. The Messiah. Our Savior. The Prince of Peace. Immanuel – God with us. The Light of the world has come.