Summary: Be not afraid!

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Be not afraid,

it is a greeting

that we hear several times

throughout the Christmas Holiday

It is how the Angel Gabriel

first addressed St. Mary

when he came to tell her

that she would bear the savior of the nations

Be not afraid Mary

for you have

found favor with God

It is how the Angel of the Lord

addressed the Shepherds

when they were in the fields

tending their flock

on the first Christmas Night

Be not afraid, for behold

I bring you good news

of a great joy which will come

to all the people;

In fact,

three times

in the first two chapters

of St. Luke’s Gospel

We find the Angel of the Lord

telling somebody to be not afraid

And about 10 times

in the four Gospels

we find Jesus himself

telling people be not afraid

And I would say of all the messages

we hear at Christmas time

besides the birth of Christ

this is the important message

Be not afraid

No, you probably will never see it

posted on the front of a Christmas Card

because it does not go along with

the presents and joy we associate

with Christmas

But it is truly one of the most important

and most comforting messages

we hear during the Christmas Season

be not afraid

There are many things in our society

that could set us on edge,

that could make us worry

or be concerned

Especially in a year

when we have seen so many natural disasters

effect so many of our brothers and sisters

in Christ’s lives

In a year

where we have seen many young men and women

in the Armed Services injured or killed

while fighting overseas

In a year

where we have seen plain crashes

train wrecks

and car accidents claim

the lives of many

In a year

where church attendance declined a little more

and consequently so did brotherly love

and morals in our society

In a year where we have seen

great highs in gas and heating prices

and great lows in economic development

In the simple fact,

that 2006 makes all of us

one more year older

But even when we see these things occurring

when we see things that may cause anxiety

or concern about our future

Gabriel’s Christmas greeting should be ringing

in our ears

louder than anything that this

world has to say

be no afraid

Be not afraid because your God is in control

be not afraid,

because your God has bought and paid

for your eternal life through

Christ Jesus our Lord

So that no matter what happens to our today’s

through the gift of the Messiah

our tomorrows are assured

in God’s eternal kingdom

And nothing can take that from us

Be no afraid,

because your God is still at work

in the midst of all that is occurring

Yes, there was a devastating hurricane in the Gulf Coast,

but the next day

before the Government

or anybody else could react

there stood the Salvation Army’s trucks

offering food,

offering clothing

offering God’s hope

Yes, there is a mass genocide occurring in the Sudan

but five denominations

are now working closer than they

have ever worked before

to offer hope and help

in that region

Yes, we can see the negative,

the catastrophic events

the bad things that occur in our world

but in every one of those events

if we look at little bit further

we will see God at work in them

Saying you cannot win,

this is my world

and I still love it

Be not afraid

Because through the birth of the Messiah

God has given us the gift of Emmanuel

which means God is with us

So that no matter where we go,

or what we do

or what we encounter

God will be right with us

Through the birth of the Messiah

God has shown us that he will always love us

and he will never leave us alone

God will never forsake us

he will never leave us hanging out

there to figure things out on our own

But he has given us Jesus Christ

and through Jesus Christ

God has pitched a tent in our world

saying I am not going anywhere

So that we have the God

who created the heavens and the earth

the God who is the author and creator

of all life

Just a prayer a way

willing and able to give us

strength, grace and guidance

As Martin Luther wrote

in his famous hymn A Mighty Fortress

“For God himself fights by our side”

So we do not have to worry about

what I am going to do

how am I going to get by

will everything be okay

The answer is yes

Because no matter what

our God is and will always be with us

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