I’m always struck by how often the scripture reminds us to “fear not!” That concept appears four times in the Christmas story.
Fear not! God answers prayer!
The angel said to Zacharias, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard …” Zacharias had prayed for his wife to bear a child. I can’t help but wonder how many years he might have been praying. The reassurance of answered prayer was an amazing blessing.
God says He hears our prayers as well, and He answers. True, His answers don’t always match what we might imagine, but God, in His wisdom, knows what is best for us.
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.1 John 5:13-15 NLT
Don’t be afraid! He showers us with His favor!
The angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid.” He brought her stunning news that would turn her life upside down. But he reassured her – she had found favor with God.
We, too, have found favor with God. How do I know? God sent His son to rescue us, blessing us with every spiritual blessing, choosing us before the foundation of the world. He forgave our sins, redeemed our lives, and now even intercedes for us.
Better is one day in your courtsPsalm 84:10-12 NIV
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Have no fear! God has a plan!
Joseph was concerned when Mary told him that she was pregnant. He did not want to make a public spectacle of her, so he planned to divorce her quietly. A baby out of wedlock was more than he bargained for, and who fathered that baby!?? The angel steps into Joseph’s life and immediately tells him not to be afraid. His message that the baby was from God had to have been shocking. And yet, Joseph is obedient and follows the angel’s instructions.
We might not always see the hand of God at work in our lives, but He is working out His redemptive plan. We cling to the promise that He who started a good work in us will continue until the day of Christ Jesus.
A person’s steps are established by the Lord,Psalm 37:23 – 24 CSB
and he takes pleasure in his way.
Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,
because the Lord supports him with his hand.
Don’t be afraid! The news is good and joyful!
When the angels announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds, they start by comforting the shepherds. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “We are bringing good news of great joy!”
The gospel is good news, joyful news! And when we apply the gospel to our everyday lives, we realize we have nothing to fear! When our lives are hidden in Christ, we cast all of our cares on Him, trusting Him to work all things together for our good to accomplish His purposes.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;Psalm 91:14-16 ESV
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
The truth is we experience much more fear than we might be willing to admit. I recently saw this interesting data set: Americans’ top 10 fears.
How might the message of Christmas apply to these common fears among us?
God answers our prayers – we can pray!
He shows us His favor – we can rehearse the gospel’s truth.
God is working out His redemptive plan – He is sovereign.
His news is good and joyful!
He desires for us to overflow
with His peace and joy this Christmas!
May you experience the Prince of Peace today
as you trust Him with your fears and anxieties.
Father, You who said over and over to “fear not!”
Who gives us peace and is our peace!
Who invites us to enter the throneroom with confidence …
Give us the wisdom to trust You,
To cast our cares on You
To bring all our anxieties to You directly
So that the expressions of our faith will please You
Bringing honor and glory to Your name!