I had the privilege of sitting among amazing women of faith today. You know, the kind you dream of emulating some day.
While we were together our fearless leader had us play a game of sorts. We were divided into groups and given a part of the Christmas story. Come up with as much detail as possible, we were told, all from memory no less, and present it to the group.
The competitor in me said, “Bring it on. No problem. We got this in the bag.”
I started reciting my lines from my 4th grade Christmas pageant. I was, after all, the angel that brought good news to the shepherds. Surely, this was why God gave me that part all those years ago. So that I could remember them for today.
I looked at our paper:
Mary and the angel Gabriel
Well, huh…now what? There goes my chance to reclaim my “angel pronouncing good news” fame.
We’d heard the Christmas story a gillion times, but between the three of us, details about Mary were a little fuzzy.
As we went around the room, sharing our part of Emmanuel, God with us, one thing stood out to me. At each encounter, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, and then shepherds, the angels said
Do not be afraid.
Upon hearing news that would change the world and change the heart of men forever, they were all told not to be afraid.
This clung to me, stuck to me, impressed itself onto me.
My first thought was, of course they weren’t really afraid. Yes, afraid of seeing such splendor, but I mean, how could they be afraid of the news they were being told, the direction given to them? The Savior of the world was coming. Yahoo! What’s there to be afraid of?
And, to boot, they were getting to be a part of it!
But they were human. They too had fear.
I recall times God has given me direction. Even after I’ve sought him and tested his will to make sure it’s good, pleasing, and perfect,
I am still afraid.
Still afraid I will mess it up. Still afraid of what others may think. Still afraid to walk into what God has called me to. Still afraid of the unknown.
God gave each person in the Christmas story specific directions. Outside Joseph’s directions to go and return from Egypt, there is no record of God continually giving more direction. They had to submit their fears to God, follow his written word, and walk in faith.
We know the end of the Christmas story. We know God will win in the end. What we don’t know is the in between and how our lives will play a part in his story. God doesn’t give us direction for every step of life. What he gives instead is his Word, his Spirit, and constant opportunities to exchange our fears for faith. Oh that we won’t let fear reign where Christ should.
Father, thank you for sending your son, our God with us. Thank you for this time of year to focus on such glory coming to dwell among us. Show us where fear clouds our walk with you and our witness to others. Enable us to exchange fear for faith.