12 Days of Christmas Devotions: Day Eight

This Christmas FiG is helping you to keep yourself focused upon Christ in this busy season where we celebrate our Saviour's birth. The seventh day is brought to you by Azriel Gray, a Pastor from Dunedin Grace Church.

Fear is not the instant response that jumps to mind when one thinks of the Christmas message. But it was to many who heard it. Zechariah was gripped with fear; Mary was greatly troubled; Joseph was told not to be afraid; Herod was disturbed; and shepherds of Luke 2:8-20 were terrified.

The Shepherds would have been tough, fearless men, perhaps even brawlers. Far away from the protection of a house, they guarded sheep from wolves, bears & lions, in open fields, in the dark of night. It is not a job for the fearful. The appearance of a beast would rouse them to action. Yet the appearance of the angel filled them with terror; and with fair reason. The first angel we encounter in scripture stands with a sword, guarding the way to the tree of life. Joshua meets another identified as the “commander of the army of the Lord,” who stands with a drawn sword. What message does this fearsome warrior from God have for the shepherds and humanity?

Just as the appearance of a traffic officer in your rear-view mirror makes you look at your speedometer; the appearance of a messenger from God makes us look at our lives. And being found lacking, our expectation is that the fearsome warrior is here to announce & enact judgment. And that is what should happen. But the fearsome warrior surprises us. His message is, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news.” And it is good news. “...a savior has been born to you…” Rather than announcing the Just penalty, he announces a way back to God- through Jesus. The God we have every reason to be terrified of, calls us instead to be his sons & daughters.

The Christmas message is more than cute. It is one that dispels fear. No more estrangement from God; no more wondering what he will do with us. Because a savior has been born- “...good news that will cause great joy for all people.”

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