“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.’”
Every time an angel shows up in the Bible, people are terrified. Why? Well, angels are not chubby beings. They are warriors and servants of God. Somewhere along the way (probably from our enemy), our modern mindset developed this thought that angels are plump, chubby, baby-looking creatures who wear diapers, have wings, halos, float around and play a harp. This could not be further from the truth. Angels are warriors! They are massive, strong and powerful. This is why when people see an angel they are instantly terrified.
By the way, how we view angels, I believe, really impacts how we live spiritually. If we view angels as weak and docile, then our faith is many times weak and docile. If we view angels as strong and mighty, then our faith is strong and mighty because our God is greater! Angels are warriors, and God uses them to protect us. This should give us boldness and confidence to live our lives for His glory.
As we approach the Christmas story, God’s birth announcement comes to some shepherds living out in their fields nearby. Immediately, when the angel appears, the shepherds are terrified. I love the angel’s response, “Do not be afraid.” I love that this is the first thing an angel always says, “Do not be afraid.”
Maybe you just need to hear these words today, “Do not be afraid.” Maybe you are facing a really tough time in life. Maybe relationally – in a marriage, with kids or even extended family. Maybe financially – things are tight and you are scared. Maybe in your job or even uncertainty about the future.
You know, Christmas is such a wonderful time of year, but it can also be a difficult time of year as well. Everything around the Holidays seems to be magnified – when things are good, they are really good, but when things are bad, they are really bad. We must face family and even ourselves. We can’t run or hide. And, so we desperately need God with us – “Immanuel.”
One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 43:1-3. How awesome is this:
“But now, this is what the Lord says –
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Hear this today – God is with you and He is for you. God’s people have always been special to Him. God knows your name. Look up. Whatever you are facing today, your God is greater! This is what Christmas is all about. God loves you so much that He sent His Son. The angel says, “I bring you good news of great joy…” This is truly good news that whatever we are going through God is with us.
In 1 John 4:18, it says, “Perfect love drives out fear.” As you look at Jesus this Christmas, you see perfect love. As you hear what He says about you, you experience His peace. As you embrace the perfect love of God and learn to focus on that love, your fear recedes and fades away. You know God has the best in His mind for you.
So, where’s your focus this Christmas? When you look at Christmas do you see chaos or peace? Do you see the hustle and bustle or do you see the peace that God came to bring? God wanted to make sure we got this, so He sent even more angels that night, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on who His favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14. Did you see it? Peace. Do not be afraid…I have come to bring peace.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will experience the peace of God. In the midst of travel, family, presents, food, cards and more, that you will see Jesus. In the midst of joy and laughter, but also pain and disappointment, that you will experience “the peace of God which transcends all understanding.” Maybe you are not where you want to be this Christmas – just know, God is with you. Maybe there is someone not with you this year who was last year – just remember, God is with you. Maybe you feel out-of-control – just think about the One who is in total control and hear Him say, “Do not be afraid.” He is with you, and He loves you. And, that is enough to bring peace.
Christmas shows us just how much God loves us. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you…” Luke 2:11. Look at those last to words, “to you.” The greatest Gift of all has your name on it. “Immanuel – God with us.” Matthew 1:23. Jesus has come to you. Open your heart and experience His peace. “Do not be afraid,” God sent His angels to tell this good news. Christ is born in Bethlehem, and He is forever with us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” John 3:16. God’s Gift to you is His Son. Embrace the Christ of Christmas. You are loved! Have faith that God is with you and for you. And, the result will be… peace.