“Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in Bethlehem, the town of David, a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord” ~ Luke 2:11

What are you afraid of today?

It’s arguably the strongest emotion we feel inside. I get upset with my cat who remains traumatized by our move to California and jumps at every sound, but truth be told, the same fear lurks in me.

A few weeks ago, a 140 pound mountain lion was found hanging out in a tree outside of a public school in our town. I’ve been unnerved ever since. Every jog I go on, I find myself peering into each tree I run under.

Fear wears many masks:

The fear of rejection. If I’m not pretty enough, sexy enough, thin enough, tough enough then I’ll be worthless and unlovable, we tell ourselves.

The fear of poverty. Jesus said a man’s life does not consist in his possessions. But most of us think Jesus was lying. At least we act like it. We act as though money is everything.

The fear of failure. Of looking bad in front of others. We care more about having people’s friendship and approval than we do about having God’s friendship and approval.

The fear of danger, or death. In a world that has grown so unsafe, where terrorists (and 140 pound mountain lions) lurk in unexpected places, who hasn’t struggled with this one?

It’s interesting that when an angel appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, the first words out of his mouth were, “Don’t be afraid.”

The shepherds were people just like us. Strip away our technology and learning, slap a tunic over our slacks or skirts and stick a staff in our hands, and we’re not all that different from them. They had all the same fears that you and I struggle with. Concerned about their looks. About running out of money. About keeping safe from Roman terrorism and safety. (And wild animals hiding in trees – don’t forget that!)

But what they hear and what they experience on this holy night of Christ’s birth is about to change them completely. By the time this night is over, their world will seem a lot less fearful than when that night began. Let’s walk with the shepherds this week and discovered what changed them.

But first, take time today to identify your fears. What things in life cause you knees to knock most? For those are the very things that God wants to deliver you from.

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