The Hopes and Fears of Christmas

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God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline

Luke 2:8-10 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 

  1. There is the fear of the (unfamiliar). 

Ex. Joseph, the husband of Mary, had that kind of fear. An angel appeared to him in a dream with an important message. Matthew described the encounter:

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’” Matthew 1:19-20

  • Afraid of what we do not understand – what does this mean?

Isaiah 55:8-9  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The angel’s word to Joseph was, “Don’t be afraid.” 

2. There was the fear that accompanied an (unexpected) encounter with God:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” Luke 2:8-9

To Joseph, to the shepherds and to each one of us the Christmas message is the same. Don’t be afraid! Christmas is God’s intervention in our lives to bring joy, not fear. The Baby of Bethlehem is still fulfilling the angels’ announcement:

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” 

Our response

1. (Watch) and (Pray)

Matthew 26:38-41 Then he said to them, “My soul is (overwhelmed with sorrow) to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

2. Be (Still) and (Know)

Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” + 

Exodus 14:14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

O Little Town of Bethlehem -“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”