And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary…”
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them and
the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they
were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not
The angelic word during Advent is—Do not fear! Easy for an angel to say, we might think. There are always experiences and events in our lives and in our world that give cause for fear—worries about a loved one who is struggling with serious disease or is facing a difficult challenge; continued turmoil on the world scene and wars that seem to never end; language from leaders that tempts us to fear those who are different in some way than we are—refugees, immigrants, people of a different race or ethnicity or faith.
Yet it is to us, people of faith, that the angelic word comes this Advent—Do not be afraid! And why should we not be afraid. Because the Christmas gospel proclaims that in Christ Jesus, the one who made heaven and earth, the one who has created us and called us by name, has become flesh and dwells among us. This does not mean that we do not feel scared from time to time, or that we do not experience anxiety…such is our lot as human beings. But it does mean that a fear that threatens to overwhelm us and paralyze our life can be overcome when we open our lives and spirits to the one who love us in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God With Us.
The first Epistle of John puts it this way:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out
fear; for fear has to do with punishment… We love
because he first loved us.
–I John 4:18-19
The one who came among us as one of us has revealed to us the perfect love of God. And because we are confident that God is with us, understands us, has tasted the fullness of human life, though there are many things that are fearful, we are not overwhelmed by fear. Instead we are inspired by hope and strengthened by the confident faith that God is with us through all things.
There are many voices in our culture and in our world that would seek to create paralyzing fear within us. But the angelic voice, the voice of God, rings out clearly for those who have ears to hear: Do not be afraid! God is with us! Listen!
Grace and Peace,