Christmas can feel like it is just about nostalgia. Between putting up the tree and sitting on Santa’s knee, we ask ourselves: isn’t there more to this than annual traditions and good memories? The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, Christmas is about far more than soft remembrances. Christmas is about, among other things, courage. It is the message the angels have for Mary, for Joseph, for the shepherds. To all three sets of people God’s messengers say, “Don’t be afraid.”
I love it when the heroes of the Bible are told to not be afraid. I love it because, by having to say it, we know these heroes were afraid. We can all take great comfort in that. This is one of many gifts Christmas gives to us: that it is for fearful people who need to hear that fear does not get to win.
That means Christmas must be for a whole lot of people I know. And for me too. Fear has become a kind of commodity in our world. We trade in it, working to one-up each another in how much there is to fear. As fearful a people as we can be, we are also Christmas people so we must listen when God’s messenger says to us, “Don’t be afraid.” As Christmas people we asked to trust Jesus more than we fear anything.
The power of Christmas is not its nostalgia at all. Its power is in realigning us every single day to live the way God calls us to. Our faith can be very practical: “Today I will not be afraid,” we tell ourselves. “This hour, I need help with my courage,” we pray. That is the power of Christmas on our faith for as much as fear can rule you, you have a ruler who is greater than fear. So let Christmas give you courage. You do not need to be afraid.
God of our beginning and end, you are our strong fortress. How can we then be afraid? Take our fearful hearts and make us into people of courage. This Christmas may we hear the angel voices and may we heed them. Amen.
Daily Message Author: Tasha Blackburn
Reverend Tasha Blackburn is currently co-pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She loves working with young people and their parents to nurture and strengthen faith in the home. She keeps busy raising two young children, Calum (6 years) and Alena (3 years) with her husband and fellow pastor, Phillip Blackburn. If you would like to learn more about Rev. Blackburn, feel free to visit her church’s website at http://1pres.org.