Do Not Be Afraid
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. – Luke 2:10-11 TNIV
More than any other emotion, fear is what keeps us apart from God. We fear that we are not worthy. We fear that we are not enough. We fear that the letting go will hurt more than the holding on.
As we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus on this Christmas Eve, consider once more the powerful words of Henri Nouwen, this time from Gracias!
God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy. This is the greatest mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent us his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us.
The challenge is to let God be who he wants to be. A part of us clings to our aloneness and does not allow God to touch us where we are most in pain. Often we hide from him precisely those places in ourselves where we feel guilty, ashamed, confused, and lost. Thus we do not give him a chance to be with us where we feel most alone.
Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and to let him — whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend — be our companion.
My prayer for us all this Christmas season is that we would allow God to walk with us in our deepest places, hold us in our pain and loneliness, guide us in our confusion, forgive us in our guilt, and wash away our shame.
Tomorrow, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us receive fully and respond with joy to the real and active presence of God in our lives.