“…do not be afraid…” (Luke 1:13, 30 and 2:10)
Fear of God is merited. God has some pretty crazy schemes: deity into humanity; salvation through suffering, life beyond death, even birth from a virgin. So was it the sudden appearance of a celestial being or the message which caused the angel to reassure folks, “Do not be afraid”?
Consider the events which followed each visit. Zechariah, old and resigned to not having children, becomes a father. Mary, young and eager to wed her fiancé, becomes pregnant. The shepherds, content on their hillside pasture, are given information which takes them into a crowded town. “Do not be afraid…” but the news of Jesus will shake up our existence, rearrange our priorities, and make uncomfortable the complacent pieces of our lives.
Even the fulfillment of a promise stretches us. Zechariah probably lost sleep, Mary nearly forfeited her marriage, and the shepherds may have had a few unhappy sheep the night they went rushing to meet the Messiah. “Do not be afraid,” however, because the difference found in the arrival of Jesus is worthy of the change that He brings.
How has knowing God stretched you?