Do Not Be Afraid
by Kim Starr
Jesus has been born and God is sending out birth announcements. He sends the star to guide the wisemen. An angel appears to the shepherds, who are terrified, and says, “Do not be afraid.” (v. 10). Didn’t the angel say the same thing to Mary? (Luke 1:30) Yes, he did.
Clearly people in the Bible were afraid. We are afraid today. The things of which we are afraid are numerous, and they are different for every person. Fear is a factor in each of our lives. Would an angel appearing to you make you afraid?
A Google search found that “Be not afraid,” or its equivalent, is, allegedly, the most often repeated command or recommendation in the Bible. Some say “Be not afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times, one time for each day. Others say that is not true. Regardless, God does not want us to be afraid. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that fear is the opposite of faith, and faith is the priority response or quality God wants to see in us? Doesn’t God want us to trust in Him with all our hearts? (Proverbs 3:5) If we are truly trusting in the Lord, can we be afraid?
Let’s go back to the shepherds. After the angel tells them not to be afraid and shares the news of Jesus’ birth, “a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God.” (v. 13) How do the shepherds react after the heavenly host disappears? We are not told they are still terrified; rather, they have a discussion and decide to go to Bethlehem to see Jesus for themselves.
Like Mary, they accepted what was said to them and had submissive hearts. They made themselves available to see Jesus and then spread the word about His birth to anyone who would listen. They then returned to the fields, “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (v. 20)
Jesus is born. Our Messiah has come. Let’s be like the shepherds and tell everyone about Jesus. Let’s glorify and praise God. Let’s trust in God and stop being afraid.
Dear Heavenly Father, A new year is approaching. Please help us to remember each day to trust in you and not be afraid. When fear does happen, help us to turn to you in faith. Remind us that we do not need an angelic visit telling us to not be afraid. We only need you. Amen.