And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
Probably some of the most familiar words in the New Testament being an integral part of the Christmas Story as recorded by Luke and enshrined in the memories of an older generation through the carol ‘While shepherds watched’.
Because they are so familiar there is a danger that we miss some of the key lessons and indicators as to how we should live, and today I want to focus on just one of them.
The shepherds were in the fields minding their own business, which was sheep. Suddenly though, on this particular night, they were filled with fear at the appearance of an angel of the Lord. We should not be surprised at this for it was surely a fearsome sight. You see angels in the Bible are not little girls dressed in white with tinsel halos but often appearances of God himself which simply has to be awesome and indeed, as the shepherds found terrifying.
However hear the angels words ‘Fear not …. good news …. great joy ….. for all people …. a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’
We live in a world where everywhere there is fear. Covid, terrorism, violence on the streets, geopolitical posturing and even warmongering, redundancy, where is my next meal coming from etc. etc. The list is endless and these and other issues are very real for thousands of people. However in this frightening world, over and over again, the message of God’s word is
Do not be afraid!
A quick search on BibleGateway leads to 80 references which contain this command, and it is a command.
So simply but challengingly God’s people must live before the world without fear.
Such living will make the world think! Why is that person so calm and stable when facing troubles?
What enables believers to face imprisonment and even death without denying their Lord?
It is because it is a command from the Lord taken at face value.
It is a tall order but our God is sufficient for these things and he does not ask of us that which is impossible.
Such fearless living means, walking humbly with God, having renewed minds, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus all of which will lift our gaze beyond the fear making situations which we are presented with on a daily basis, and enable us to live in a way that those without Christ cannot understand.
As this year draws to a close it is good to look back reflecting on the application of our Verse for the Year 2021
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Have you found it to be true? I trust your answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’
Then as 2022 is almost with us we can move forward without fear whatever the world might throw at us.