Wednesday, 21 December 2011 10:22
Christmas is only a few days away and my thoughts return to the message from the angels, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11 CEB).
Few times during my lifetime have fear and anxiety permeated society and the church as it has today. Persons are fearful they will not have a job in the coming months. They are fearful their retirement funds will evaporate or shrink to the point of being worthless before they reach retirement age. They are anxious about their families, church, community, and nation. The angels’ words seem meaningless to many people filled with fear and anxiety. Yet, these are the angels’ words to the shepherds and their words to fearful, anxious people everywhere. “Don’t be afraid!”
These are not soothing words void of content, merely wishful dreams to avoid the present reality. These words are given because of what God has done and is doing. God is big enough, strong enough, and powerful enough to deal with fears and anxiety. The content is simple to state; “a savior is born in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.” The one who created the heavens and the earth has become a human being. The entire order of the universe has been changed. A child is now the King of kings, Lord of lords, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. This message was something that only a few people could initially believe. The message did not come to the wise, the wealthy, or the rulers of the kingdoms. This message came to a group of uneducated, lowly shepherds who were forced to remain in the cold of the night to protect the sheep entrusted to their care. It indeed was a message of great joy.
The message the angels sang is just as powerful today. We can live with joy filling our hearts. God remains in control. God became a human being in Jesus and abides with us each and every day of our lives. Jesus overcame the principalities and powers of this world. We can live in peace with hearts filled with joy.
Many people run through Christmas, buying gifts, going to parties, eating and drinking and returning home with the same fear and anxiety. They cannot imagine that God would come to them. They cannot imagine that a baby, born in a stable could really change their lives and remove their fear and anxiety. Yet, that is the message for all who will turn away from the noise, the hustle of the holidays and listen for a word of joy that exceeds their imagination. God did what few could imagine. God did what few would receive. God brought salvation to the world. God destroyed the fears and anxiety of those lowly shepherds and those still willing to join them in hearing the angels sing. God gives joy to a world that is seeking happiness. God gives joy to a people seeking meaning. God gives joy and melts their fears and anxiety.
Thanks be to God who sent the angels to lowly shepherds and gave them a message of hope and joy.