Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Christmas story reminds Christians, ‘Do not be afraid’


December 23, 2014


Religion Columnist

As I was reading about Jesus’ birth recently, it struck me how many times people were told to not be afraid. Generally, the salutation to not fear came with the appearance of an angel, as was the case with Zechariah (Luke 1:5-13), Mary (Luke 1:26-30), and the shepherds (Luke 2:8-12). In those days, people were rightfully afraid of angels because they represented God as his messengers and everyone knew that it meant instant death to look upon God (Exodus 33:18-20). On each occasion mentioned above, the “fear not” was immediately followed by good news, which caused the fears to subside.

In the cases of Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds, angels actually appeared. There was another situation in which an angel appeared in a dream, which I think would not necessarily instill fear and the encouragement to not fear was not given because of the angel’s startling appearance (Matthew 1:18-25). In that case, the angel told Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and the reason – because what had been conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit and would fulfill the prophecy that God would be with us.

When I read that part of the account, it occurred to me that many Christians, those who have God with them through his indwelling Spirit, are afraid to act upon what that Holy Spirit conceives in them based on their study of God’s word (Acts 2:39-39, 47b; Galatians 3:26-4:7; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2:9-16). To not follow the direction of the Spirit, even out of fear, is a lack of faith and sin (Romans 14:23; Matthew 8:23-26; Hebrews 13:5-6; James 4:17). The only fear we’re to have is related to not maintaining our salvation (2 Peter 1:2-11; Philippians 2:12-13). Otherwise, we’re to have an appropriate respect for God and his love that expresses itself through obedient love for him (Luke 6:46; John 15:9-14; 14:15-27; Romans 8:12-17). After Moses died, God told Joshua to obey his commands with courage and strength because he was with him (Joshua 1:6-9).

And that brings us back to the events leading up to Jesus’ birth or rather the reason for Jesus’ birth – that man need not be afraid of God anymore because he loved us so much that he sent Jesus to earth to take the punishment for or sins by dying in our place (John 3:13-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Romans 6:3-5, 23). We’re made perfect through Jesus’ love (1 John 4:17-18; Ephesians 5:25-27; Galatians 1:3-5; 2:20-21; 5:24). Otherwise, we should be still afraid (Luke 12:4-5).

So, during this gift-giving season, if you haven’t already done so, give yourself back to God (Romans 12:1-2). Then you can have a Merry Christmas and a fear-free New Year if you just do what the Holy Spirit conceives in you to do. Do be sure it’s from the Spirit of God by verifying the concept with his word, though (1 John 3:1-2). As a Christian, God will give you the wisdom for that if you ask (James 1:5-8).

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at [email protected]


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