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Banner Image:   Christmas Meditations 2021
Day 3 : Do not be afraid (Luke 1:11-13)

When Zechariah entered the holy place to accomplish his priestly duties, he got a big surprise, one that frightened him.  He should have been alone, but he was not.  Someone was standing beside the altar of incense, not just anyone, an angel!

The angel uttered what is, I believe, the most common command found in the Bible. “Do not be afraid!”

We are unlikely to encounter an angel, for even in the Bible they appear only very rarely and usually only when God is about to do something really important.  Nevertheless, and even more so during these days when covid19 dominates, we are likely to face fear.  Fear of falling unwell.  Fear of financial difficulty.  Fear of loneliness.  Fear of unemployment…  In all our disappointments, frustrations, and anxieties, I believe God would say to us today: “Do not be afraid!”

Why need not Zechariah have feared?  And what truths can calm our fears?

Well, the angel came to Zechariah with good intentions, with good news.  In their old age, Zechariah and his wife would bring a child into the world and that child would significantly advance God’s plans and purposes for his people.

God will speak to us in more ordinary ways: as we read the Bible, through the words of our brothers and sisters in church.  When God speaks his intentions towards us are always good, even when his words appear harsh or difficult. God will speak to calm our fears.

The Christmas message– the birth of a Saviour – is proof itself of God’s good intentions towards us as individuals, towards all the peoples of the earth, even towards the cosmos!  Convinced of God’s good intentions and that step by step he is working his purposes out, even in the hard times, our fears can give way to hope and joy.

Ian Flanders, 01/12/2021