Wow! It is a bit crazy out there!! I was out visiting a few stores at the height of last minute Christmas shopping, and oh my, were people saying some interesting things. I walked down one aisle and these two young people were fretting over what to get their father, fearing their gift choice would be lame, like last year. Another customer was buying up tarps and roof patch fearful the rain would do even more damage. A couple was over looking at the BBQs asking the sales person a number of detailed questions, saying, “I don’t want to make a mistake like last time. I am afraid this one will be just as bad.” Another person at the check-out stand was wondering if they could afford all they were purchasing, fearful about their finances. I felt a few of those fears as well as I was buying a gift for a friend.
Fear seemed to be a major theme in the store that night, and as I pondered this, running to my car in fear of getting wet, it hit me that fear is also a major theme in life. The news is full of fear-raising stories; terrorists attacks, financial failures, random shootings, incurable diseases, natural disasters. Not only on the news, but we hear of marriages failing, families falling apart, and people getting cancer. Yes fear is very real…but so is hope!
There is a very real hope that is what the season of Christmas is all about. It is found in the biblical Christmas story.
Luke 2:8-14 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”
This hope can dissolve fear and turn dread into confidence, distress into peace, anxiety into calm, fright into courage, and trepidation into levelheadedness. This hope is not just nice platitudes or encouraging quotes, but a faith in this Savior, born in Bethlehem, Jesus, who is Christ the Lord.
The Bible has a lot to say about dealing with our fear.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
This is Jesus talking, saying fear dissolves as we put our faith in Him. For Jesus said…
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
It is a rest from all the fears of life. When we seek and embrace Jesus and understand His great love, grace, and mercy, our lives are flooded with His peace and we have a confidence to move forward in our fear-soaked world.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 94:19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
The key is to do what the shepherds did…
Luke 2:15-16 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
They sought Jesus and found Jesus. The key to dissolving fear is to seek and continue to seek Jesus, and know of His great love. First John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Jesus’ love is perfect and as we understand this love, hope will rise and fear will flee. For as we see all of who Jesus is and experience His greatness our trust will grow and strength will arise to face our fears with courage. Will you?
Church is a great place to learn of who Jesus is and how to experience Him, especially around Christmas time. If you are not already connected to a church, please feel invited to ours. Our website has information about our various campuses. We would love to connect with you. Just check out our website, www.cypresschurch.net .
Placing my hope in Jesus in the face of fear along with you,