By Kelly Wright
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Fear seems ever-present. This choking feeling that we will be forgotten or forsaken or found out. And since fear always seems to be with us, it means it is life-taking this time of year, too.
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean family conflict ceases, our finances magically cover all our desires, and the feelings of grief we’ve successfully stuffed the rest of the year go away. Stop for a moment and consider what you might be fearing today . . .
In Luke 1:26-33, the angel Gabriel announced some surprising news to Mary:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary was a young girl who was about to have her planned-out life turned upside down. But the visit from Gabriel changed all that. She had been found highly favored by God and had been chosen by Him to be the mother of Jesus.
We read past the first fear Mary faced, which was being visited by an angel. Did you notice Gabriel’s first instruction to Mary: “Do not be afraid.” Talking to an angel looks pretty comfortable on television shows and in movies. But imagine a surprise confrontation with a mythic creature of power on, like, a Tuesday? Yeah, unsettling to say the least.
I’m sure the news of God’s plans brought fear, too. Being pregnant without your fiancé’s knowledge. Taking a roadtrip pregnant. Giving birth. Oh, and don’t forget the whole being-the-mother-of-the-Son-of-God thing either! Forget Christmas—this was starting to feel like a Halloween story.
But Gabriel’s words reminded Mary that God was in control.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
Instead of living in a spirit or state of fear, God invited Mary, and invites us to live in His power, His love, and His sound mind.