"Do not be afraid." That is a phrase said again and again throughout the Bible:
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield." -- Genesis 15:1
"Peace be with you, do not be afraid." -- Genesis 43:23
"Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -- Joshua 1:9
"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet." -- Proverbs 3:24
"But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid." -- Matthew 17:7
"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last." -- Revelation 1:17
Those are only a few examples!
With every emotion, there is also an opposite emotion. While we are happy, others are sad. While we are full with plenty to eat, there are others hungry and starving. While I am rested, others are restless. It seems that for every good there is also a bad. And the better the good is the worse the bad seems.
Let me explain why this is important to my point. Christmas time is a season of great joy and peace for some. But for others, it is a time of great sorrow. For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays can seem downright depressing. For those having trouble providing for their family, a time of seeming abundance can be heartbreaking. Even separating the stress of shopping, family, meals and extra activities during the Christmas season can make it lose its luster.
But there is Hope! Because Jesus is the reason for the season!
When the angel came to the shepherds while they were in the fields, as they did in Luke 2:10, they were terrified. I cannot imagine the majesty of the Angel's light, but I expect it would be quite overwhelming. But the angel said, "Do not be afraid."
The angel assures the shepherds who are going about their daily lives that something has changed. "I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people." Did you catch that? All people. It isn't a gift only for the Jews, or the men, or the even the good. Jesus Christ is a gift from God for all people.
Through this babe, there is no need to get lost in sorrow because He is your shield (Genesis 1:15). There is no reason to stay restless and weary because He is peace. (Genesis 43:23). There is no need for loneliness because the Lord your God is always with you (Joshua 1:9). Even when you sleep, God is there watching over you, guarding and guiding you (Proverbs 3:24). You are not weak and you can provide because with Christ only a touch in the Spirit will give you the strength and the provisions to keep moving on (Matthew 17:7). Stress and worry are only temporary emotions that Christ Himself is willing to carry for you. When you keep your eyes on the reason for the season, there is nothing left to do but worship Him! Do not be afraid when life seems like chaos, God is with you, He is the First and the Last and He will be with you always. (Revelation 1:17).
The Lord tells us over and over again to not be afraid. To trust Him. To have faith that He will care for us, guard us and guide us. Especially in the moment of the Savior's birth, God proves once again that He has a plan. It doesn't matter how bad it gets, there is always hope resting in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, a babe who is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.