The Advent message is clear: Fear not!
Please Read: Luke 1: 26-38
The frightening events around the world today make us fearful. I submit that I am afraid of so many things. If you’re a news junkie like me, you may also be troubled. What kind of world are we living in today? What kind of world are we going to leave behind for our children? What kind of humans are we turning into? Has humanity always been so depraved since the Fall? If the current events are a commentary on who we are as human beings, then, I think instead of trying to be human, we better try to be just more humane! In this fearful context, we are in the midst of celebrating Advent—one of the most sacred seasons in the Christian calendar. We know that it’s a season of preparation for the coming of Christ. Yet, how do we prepare ourselves in this world that is marred by terror and distress?
I believe the sovereign God knows our predicament because fear is one of the first consequences of sin (Genesis 3: 8-10). He knows that we are scared and anxious and has a word of encouragement for us today. This comes from the mouth of angels who visited different people before the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Almost invariably, in all appearances of the angels to different people, they predicated their message with these words: “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.” (Luke 1: 13, 30; 2: 10; Matthew 1: 20) I am sure situation of the people living in the period before Jesus’ birth was like ours. They didn’t have any prophets for a long time. The word of God was rare. They were ruled by a brutal Roman Empire. Their hopes of the promised Messiah and the Redeemer were fast diminishing. They were a people afraid for the future of Israel and the future of their children. Therefore, the Lord had especially instructed the angels to address the anxieties and fears of his people before they share the message of Christmas to them. The Lord wanted to assure them that He knew they were scared. He wanted to reassure them that God understands our dreads and he wants to allay our fears and fill us instead with hope and joy of the coming of his son Jesus Christ. Yes, God wants us to celebrate in the midst of our fears because the good news is also a good new for our fears. In fact, this good news is much needed in the midst of our terrors and hopelessness. It is only the good news of the coming Messiah that helps us make sense of our world. Only through the good news of the God incarnate is there some hope for a fallen and depraved humanity. Only because of Jesus Christ, we can hope for a better world at the return for Christ to this earth.
So, let’s not lose hope. Let’s not be too fearful. Let’s heed the words of the angels for each one of us: “Fear not.” God wouldn’t scare us into faith, but he also doesn’t want us to continue to live in our fears. He did come down and dwelt among us, the depraved human beings, in order to relieve us from our anxieties and fears. That’s why his name is Immanuel, i.e., God with us! No matter what your fears may be today, he knows each on of you. So, let’s focus on the words of the angels and on this divine fact: “God is with us”. Whatever you may be going through, keep calm and whisper this truth to yourself: God is with me right now. He will be with me no matter what happens around me.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.