As I have done in years past, I have been studying the various segments of the Christmas story as found in Matthew and Luke’s gospel messages each morning during the month of December. One reoccurring theme that caught my attention both yesterday and today were the four appearances by the angel Gabriel to some of the main characters in the story. One of the first things that he said on each occasion was “FEAR NOT!”
What’s most interesting is the way each of the actors in our historical venue responded to the appearance and words uttered by the heavenly messenger. The first and last visits were greeted with “overcoming fear” by Zechariah, while the shepherds tending their flocks near Bethlehem were recorded as being “terrified.” On the other hand, Mary and Joseph displayed zero fear at the appearance of Gabriel. Mary was simply “startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant.” Joseph didn’t question a thing. He just got up after the dream and married the girl he loved without voicing anymore concern about what others might say or think under the strange circumstances of their unique situation. (check out Luke chapters one and two – God’s Word ©)
I think that the one verse of scripture found in Luke 1:37 gives all the explanation that we as believers need to have for trusting God without questions or thought as we also face the potential of fearful situations in our lives. The angel answered Mary’s queries by simply stating: “For there is nothing God cannot do!” (Good News Bible) The literal translation for this statement declares that “no word of God shall be void of power.” (American Standard Version)
This truth is to me one of the greatest lessons that we can take and live from the story of that first Christmas and the entrance of God in a human form on this earth. I was also impressed and comforted this morning as I thought about the grace of God toward us which is demonstrated by Zechariah. Luke 1:6 tells us that he and his wife Elizabeth were upstanding, devout and faithful Jews. They had prayed and were actively believing for the ability of Elizabeth to bear a child. Heck… Zechariah was in the Holy of Holies, behind the curtain in the temple performing the priestly duties when the angel appeared to him… and he still became afraid and doubted the message that the angel of the Lord gave to him!
That shows me that even the best of us Christians can have moments where we give in to fear and doubt… kinda like I did for a moment or two last night! Piper was suddenly filled with a heavy dose of nasal congestion when we went to bed, so I was up and down until about 1:15 attending to her needs. Then I was up again at 2:30 to give her one of her scheduled meds… but as much as I tried, I could not get her to swallow the liquid dose. So yea… you guessed it… I was pooped and found myself yielding to all the lies that were bombarding my mind in the dark at the side of her bed… and I started to get afraid about where this was leading us in the course of this disease.
I got so upset that I turned to punch the wall but thankfully had the where-with-all to think of the consequences of that action (ie; hole in wall, hurt knuckles, and condemning after-thoughts of my actions) and lightly knocked on the wall instead! And you know? That’s all it took and I instantly realized what was going on and took authority over the situation (ie; over myself)! I also heard the wisdom from above to get her up into an upright position so she could better facilitate her swallowing mechanism… and it worked fine!
So yea… even mature Christians can yield to fear! But that doesn’t mean that we have to stay there or even consider it again after we go to the Lord and ask forgiveness (as I did when I finally got back to bed!). God forgives and forgets and so should we!
God ended up using Zechariah in a mighty way following his less than stellar performance with the angel Gabriel. And he wants to do the same with you and me! So.. FEAR NOT! Keep your eyes on the things of God as did Joseph and Mary and let the attacks of fear have little to no consequence in your daily walk in this life!
I encourage you this season to go out and express your new found message of the holidays by sharing the angel’s encouraging words with those you come in contact with by living and teaching God’s message of “FEAR NOT!” … and as you do… keep asking yourself: “Am I expecting to FEAR NOT in my daily walk this holiday season?”