Picture this – you have been sentenced to death – no chance of parole – your execution is set – you will be fed to a pride of lions. You must wait in your cell until the next day when the arena opens and the hungry lions stand waiting intensely to be fed. Suddenly you hear the words, “Do not be afraid,” coming from the sky. You fall on your knees in fear, yet the voice gives you a sense of comfort and peace. This angelic voice takes on the shape of a spirit, filling you with even more fear. The message the angel has for you is one of unbelievable news, It will alter the little time you have left and you’re being told not to be afraid. That’s like telling a frog to sit still while sitting in a hot frying pan.
The time of Jesus’ birth was filled with “Don’t be afraids.” Gabriel had delivered messages to Elizabeth regarding the upcoming pregnancy in her aging and barren body. He stopped by Mary’s house to tell her that she was going to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit and would give birth to the Son of God. Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, also was visited by Gabriel and told that this whoe incident was being arranged by God Himself for the fulfillment of the covenant He had made long ago with Adam and Eve. Then there were the scruffy, dirty, smelly shepherds tending their flocks on that special night. A whole angelic choir came to tell them about the birth of the Messiah and an end to their long wait would finally come.
It seems to me that when you tell someone not to be afraid, they immediately start thinking about what’s ahead for them. Like the guy waiting for his execution or a child learning to ride a bike for the first time. “Don’t be afraid,” is one of those phrases we use to empower someone to face into something they’re tentative about.
The angels don’t make these kind of splendiforous appearances today, but they’re out there. I’ve experienced being visited by many angels in my lifetime. Like miracles and blessings, we’re not always aware of their presence. I personally have a guardian angel that has earned her wings many times over. There are those who come into your lives when you least expect them. They provide the support you need spiritually, physically and mentally. The aren’t dressed in robes of white and they don’t sport halos on their heads, but they are definitely real.
So how do you respond to the angelic call of, “Don’t be afraid,” Does the very thought of it send shivers up and down your spine? Do you welcome their offer of peace? Do you think others will think you have completely lost your mind? The good news of Christmas is beyond our ability to understand, but the message has survived for centuries. It is a message of peace on earth and good will to men. It’s a message of hope for a future beyond the grave. It’s a gift that can’t be bought with silver or gold. It is without measure, yet it means everything. Even our ability to have faith is a part of that amazing gift.
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
DO NOT BE AFRAID!