What causes you to feel afraid? Some people like scary movies and seem to take pleasure in being scared out of their wits. Of course, if the nightmare became reality and a mask-wearing machete-wielding maniac was after them, they would feel a mortal fear like none other. Television and movie theaters are safe places to experience a little fear but no one wants to experience their mortal fears for real.
What would you do if an angel showed up in a bright flash of light? Would you jump and clap for joy or would you be like the shepherds who were afraid? I suspect I’d be like the shepherds. I can understand why the angel told them not to be afraid. The sudden appearance of an angel, shimmering in the darkness, would be enough to make the strongest shepherd shiver in his sandals. However, God’s intention was not to frighten but to enlighten. It still is.
The angel that appeared to the shepherds that night was there to deliver a special announcement about the birth of the Messiah. Sure the shepherds were afraid, at first, until they discovered the reason for the visit. I think I’d have wanted to sit down on a rock and let my heart calm down for a spell but these guys were filled with wonder and headed to Bethlehem to see what had happened.
Fear may be our initial reaction at something we don’t understand but God offers calm assurance beneath the surface of our fears. Emmanuel! Our God is with us! Do not be afraid! No matter what the fear, no matter what the reality, God is with you. He can bring a calm assurance to your troubled soul no matter what that trouble is. Trust in the God who is with you – even this second.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the calm assurance You give when we are frightened.