Published December 22, 2015

Paul's Epistle
"Christmas: Antidote for Fear"

There's a lot of fear in the world today. Fear of terrorism. Fear of crime. Fear of further economic collapse. All sorts of fear.

But aren't you glad we have Christmas? Why? Well, Christmas is all about Christ's coming. And He is all about casting out fear. 1st John 4:18 reminds us that "perfect love casts out fear..."

God's love is perfect. In fact, He is the very embodiment of love — "God is love." (1 John 4:8). And the greatest illustration of that perfect love is ... Christmas! "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). His coming – His incarnation — what God "gave" — is what we celebrate at Christmastime. And when God's love is involved, fear has to flee.

In fact, the wonder-full Christmas story includes several cases where angels delivered key parts of the story – always with a reassuring "fear not."

There was the "fear not" the angel delivered to Mary when delivering humanly impossible news: "Fear not, Mary... the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee... For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:30, 35, 37).

There was the "fear not" of seemingly unanswered prayer: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call him name John" (Luke 1:13).

There was the "fear not" of confusion or uncertainty: "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife ... Then Joseph ... did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him" (Matthew 1:20,24).

And then there's the most important "fear not" of all, as angels delivered history's greatest news broadcast to startled shepherds on a Judean hillside: "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11).

The God-given message of the angels – "fear not" – still is God's message to believers today. His perfect love has cast out any reason for fear – our daily fears, our seemingly overwhelming fears. And it's all because of Christmas. When our lives are infected with fear, remembering Christmas and what it's all about, is the antidote.

1st John 4:9-10 reminds us, "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love..." It's all so that we might "live" – not in "fear," but in God's love.

Fearful?  Remember that Christ came to cast out fear. He came to be our Emmanuel — God with us. And that's the message of the incarnation. That's the message of Christmas.

Truly, we can say with the Psalmist, "I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me..."

- Paul

Note:  In a Christmas article I read last week, I came across this one line that jumped out to me: "Every Christmas will be the final Christmas for someone." Wow. That's a powerful reminder to make this a wonderfully memorable Christmas for all of your loved ones (and others, too, of course) – especially those who are well along in their journey.

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