Do Not Be Afraid

Every year, we gather our friends together for birthday cake for Jesus.

It has become one of my favorite traditions.

We started when our kids were pretty small.

Now, some of them are in college.

And they all still gather around as my friend tells the story of the Savior’s birth, using our Nativity set with a plush Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus.

Afterwards, we light the candles on the cake and sing Happy Birthday to our Savior.

Mr. Lord (yes, that is his real name) always asks the group this question as he narrates the story.

What did the angel say to the shepherds as they tended to their sheep?

Do not be afraid!  

They all shout out the same answer.

For as many times as they have heard this story, they know this answer by heart.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2: 8-11

The shepherds must have been fearful, having something appear out of nowhere.

Yet the same response appears repeatedly throughout scripture.

Do not be afraid!

I have thought of this phrase so many times this week.

Sometimes things appear out of nowhere.

A new health diagnosis or illness.

The unexpected loss of a loved one.

A financial burden.

The approaching holiday can make us feel anxious or worried.

Especially if we feel like hope is lost.

But Christmas is when hope was born.

It is the reminder to not be afraid, because we are not alone.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means God is with us.”  Matthew 1:23

I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder daily, not just at Christmas.

Friends, whatever we are facing today, God is with us.

Do not be afraid.

I pray our children keep that answer always tucked in their hearts.

I pray that you do as well.