By Lance Mayes
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
Fear — seems like we have a lot of that in today’s world. Every time we turn on the television we are being warned of something to fear. Fear ISIS. Fear Ebola. Fear immigration. If we are honest we really don’t need any help finding things to fear. Fear illness. Fear the future. Fear the unknown. We have all been afraid.
I’ve never been afraid of heights, but something happened several years ago. On a high ropes course, I could not get to the top of the pamper pole (a telephone pole you climb, stand on and jump to a trapeze). I was shaking so hard I just could not get on top. I’ve done it many times before so why the fear now? Well, I was now a father. Even though I knew in my head that I was completely safe since I was wearing a harness, I was still afraid. There was more at stake now than before.
The shepherds were terrified of the sudden appearance of a bright light and a mysterious being. They were not paid enough to deal with this. Lions, bears, thieves and wandering sheep were enough. Then they heard these reassuring words, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Their fear turned to curiosity, wonder and eventually joy, praise and sharing.
Pause for just a moment, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. What are your fears? Really think about it. Now hear these words. Don’t be afraid. Good News is here. Be filled with joy for Jesus is Emmanuel — God with us.