"But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John... And he will go on before the Lord....'"
—Luke 1:13, 17a
"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.'"
"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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'"
"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 Christ the Lord.'"
Do not be afraid
The fear of the unknown is often the most difficult to overcome. As much as we plan for an event, there always is an element of uncertainty—at least that is true of our human endeavors.
Will my car break down unexpectedly? Can I meet the next deadline? Will my health hold up? Will we get enough rain in the coming year? Will I be laid-off from my job? Will the economy get better? Will I be able to make ends meet? Will my kids have to go off to war?
The answers to all these and many other questions are often uncertain. While we may not have the answers to all of what the future holds, there is One who holds the future.
As testimony to God's power and authority his angels came to proclaim good news. The angels brought varied messages, which were received in various ways—with skepticism, bewilderment, uncertainty and amazement.
From the foretelling unto skeptical Zechariah of the birth of his son, John the Baptist, until the announcement of Jesus' birth to the amazed shepherds of Bethlehem, the comforting counsel of the angels remained the same: do not be afraid.
From the day those words of comfort were first given—right up until today—they still ring sweetly in our ears. "Do not be afraid" is a message of comfort that speaks volumes to us as we await the Advent of our Savior—the return of Jesus Christ to judge the world. That's what season of Advent is all about. The word "advent" simply means "coming."
The urgency of the Advent of Jesus Christ brings a call to repentance. Do not be afraid, for God knows your sins and He calls you to lay them at His feet and ask for His forgiveness. On account of the work of our Savior Jesus, God freely forgives us and brings us into His eternal family.
The time of Advent also reminds us of a promised blessing. Do not be afraid, because God has not forgotten about you, He knows you personally and He loves you. All who put their trust in Him will never be abandoned to this world of sin and strife. Just as God accomplished your salvation through His Incarnation (that is, His becoming human), your Savior God is coming again to take you and all who believe in Him to be with Him forever in the heavenly home He has prepared.
The reflection and purpose of Advent is to point you to a Person. Do not be afraid. The One that is coming is none other than Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, brother, and victorious King. He is the one that suffered hell's torment for you and for all, to redeem mankind from death's grip. Jesus Christ is the only person who can guide you through life's maze and bring you safely to His heavenly rest.
While you don't know what lies around every corner, you can be certain that God does. Put your trust in Jesus. He will never leave you; He will never abandon you; He will never fail you. Do not be afraid!
Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version‚ 1973 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.