Four times throughout the Biblical narrative of the first Christmas, the players in this wonderful story are instructed to not be afraid.  Zechariah, Mary, Joseph (in a dream), and the shepherds all have encounters with God’s angels, who alleviate their fears, and then provide them with critical information, instruction, and finally, hope. 

As we turn our attention to the baby in a manger this Christmas, it’s important to remember the challenges those characters were facing at the time of the birth of Christ.  On a macro scale, the children of Israel were still waiting for the arrival of their Messiah, the one who would come to overthrow their Roman oppressors and establish His perfect government to rule and reign forever. 

On a smaller scale, we have an old couple who were struggling with infertility, a young couple coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, and some blue collar guys trying to stay warm and protect their flocks. 

One by one an angel visits them, stating “Fear not”, and then provides a message of hope for their particular circumstance.  To the older couple, that they will have a son named John, and he will pave the way for the coming Messiah.  To the young couple, that their pregnancy is not “unplanned”, but in fact part of God’s master plan to send His one and only Son to save the world!  Finally, the shepherds received the honour of being the first ones to receive the birth announcement of the Saviour and then being charged with spreading the good news. 

The first coming of Christ is in our rearview mirror, but as we celebrate another Christmas, may we be reminded to continue to look for Christ’s second coming.  

On a macro-scale we live in very challenging times, not unlike those who lived in antiquity.  On a smaller scale, each one of us deals with our own struggles and brokenness. 

But, like the angels of the Lord instructing their charges 2000 years ago, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people, for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-10

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and remember the “great joy”, that our Saviour, born 2000 years ago, is coming again. Come Lord Jesus, Come!