Editor’s Note: This week in A Light Dwelling, we may come to Christmastime accounts you have already read this month or know by heart, and we encourage you to not skip over these passages! Open your Bibles to read as if for the first time or listen to another voice read the stories of that first Christmas to you. Place yourself in the narratives. Imagine you are the angel Gabriel delivering startling news to Mary and are Mary herself. Consider what your feelings would have been if you were Joseph, one of the angelic messengers, a shepherd, Simeon, Anna, a wise man, and even Herod. What would it have felt like to worship the Savior of the world for the first time? We pray the narrative comes alive as we take you back to First Century Israel. Today we’re looking at an oft-repeated command ”Do not fear!” that was heralded in several of these angelic messages. Will you, too, heed the command?
Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:30
Don’t fear, Mary, I’m sent by God. I know I’ve startled you. Please don’t be alarmed. God wants you to know that you are favored in His eyes, and He has chosen you to be the mother of His Son. You are to call Him Jesus.
Don’t fear, Mary, my message is from God. You ask me, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” I assure you that nothing is impossible with God. The power of the Most High will overshadow you. This is God’s plan for you.
Don’t fear, Mary, the future. Your baby will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Yes, the story won’t always be easy for you, but God sees your humility and is with you each step of the way. Keep trusting Him.
Joseph, son of David, you should not fear to receive Mary as your wife. Matthew 1:20
Don’t fear, Joseph, I’m sent by God. I know you are weighing your future with a woman who appears unfaithful to your betrothal vows, but God wants to direct your next right step. Keep Mary close. You don’t want to miss what’s going to happen next.
Don’t fear, Joseph, my message is from God. Your betrothed has been faithful to her vows, and inside her womb, God has wrapped Himself with humanity. You, Joseph, have been chosen to be His earthly father, and you are to name Him Jesus.
Don’t fear, Joseph, the future. You don’t need to know everything that’s going to happen in the days ahead, but be assured, this Baby is God’s rescue plan for a world living in deep darkness. God will tell you enough at just the right time to direct your steps. Keep trusting Him.
Ponder: Fear is an emotional response to flee from what is uncomfortable or dangerous. Does this sound familiar to you? What fear has a hold of you today? Throughout Scripture, including in today’s passages, God directs the people He loves to trust Him, to not fear what may or may not be around the next bend in the journey with Him. When is it easy to trust God? When is it a struggle to trust God? In many ways, courage is the antonym of fear, but it’s not something we can muster up on our own. Mary couldn’t live fearless without God empowering her. Joseph couldn’t live fearless without God directing His steps. We can’t live fearless without God working in and through us. What is one thing you can do today in His power to choose courage over fear?
Pray: God, thank You for how You spoke to Mary and then Joseph, charging them to face the messenger, the message, and the future without fear. In a season of deep fear gripping and dividing our world, I pray, Lord, that I will trust You more and more each day and rely on Your strength in me to face whatever comes next as I journey with You.
Listen: Sovereign Grace Music sings Do Not Fear.
— Jaime Sherman