Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-20
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ –Luke 2:8-14
The Greek word translated as fear in this scripture is phobeó that means to put to flight, to terrify, frighten*. It is the root word for the English phobia that means an exaggerated and often disabling fear usually inexplicable to the subject, occasionally having a logical but usually an illogical or symbolic object, class of objects, or situation**. Fear is a normal emotional response to a potential threat. Fear prepares our whole being for making proper responses to that which might harm us. The word phobia is descriptive of miss-channeled responses to fear by overreacting in a way that might be more harmful to us than the original threat. I know about phobias. I suffer from an illogical fear of tight places called claustrophobia. I trace it to being caught under our house when I was a child. I can talk myself out of it, but I still experience that first feeling of lack of control in some situations. I rejoiced when someone invented the open sided MRI.
There is a lot of fear going around right now. We must choose whether our response is logical or illogical, targeted toward peace on earth in all its facets or not. Today we celebrate God with Us. Today we rest in the assurance that we need now cower in illogical fear. Our Savior has come and is with us today. He calls us to use our fears to bring about peace on earth through love. More importantly, he offers his constant presence with us to help when we feel that first inkling of lack of control. God is in control.
Prayer: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.