But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today's Reading: Luke 2:8-14
Devo Author: Collin Jackson
Date: December 20, 2021
You know those moments you get scared of something that catches you by surprise?
Sweet Erin Rose (my wife) has become a master in the art of surprise jump scares. Almost daily she has gotten into the habit of hiding in random places around the house, waiting for a child or her spouse (even the dog occasionally) to come near, with her objective: scream “I Love You!” at the poor soul passing by her hiding place. And let me tell you… I did not know I could scream like that.
But after her little pranks, there is always this rush of relief and a moment of laughter followed by a hug. The gratitude that comes with the good news that there is nothing to be afraid of... as this surprise is brought by someone who is trustworthy, has good intentions, and is full of love for her spouse and boys.
Now, let’s use our imaginations together for a second. Imagine being in the field just outside of Bethlehem that night with those shepherds. We are keeping watch over the flock of sheep under our care, on the lookout for any potential predators and, if you are like me, occasionally taking a moment to enjoy the starry night sky outside with your co-workers. And to our surprise, it is not Erin Rose, but a bright and powerful creature that looks like something from out of this world! The weight and beauty of this moment are unlike anything we have experienced! How would you respond in that moment? What would you do?
In his gospel, Luke informs us of the response of these shepherds–“they were terrified” (Luke 2:9 NIV)–overcome with fear at the appearance of this angel and the great manifestation of God’s glory around them. But, following this moment of intense fear and anxiety, there was a rush of relief, a moment of gratitude, a message that produced joy. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’” (Luke 2:10 NIV).
The “good news,” same word we use for the term "Gospel," is just that. It is GOOD. For in our fear, anxiety, struggles, and sorrows we face in this world, there is good news. God’s King and Kingdom have been announced with the incarnation of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us in this life and the next. Doesn’t that give you joy today?! God is with us!
But let’s circle back, take a second and read the first sentence of Luke 2:10 again, but this time let’s put your name at the end.
“Do not be afraid ______.”
Are there things this Christmas season that are causing you fear, anxiety, or stress? Would you take a moment now to pause, breathe slowly, and confess those to God? Cast all your anxieties and cares on Him, for He cares for you; and watch the Spirit of God produce joy in and through you this Advent season.