Whenever I approach the story of baby Jesus’ arrival on earth, I see something new. This year, it’s been the role of angels; the Christmas story is full of angelic visitations and the first thing they always say is, “Fear not!” The angel Gabriel comes to Mary in Luke 1:30, the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream in Matthew 1:18-20 and the shepherds were visited by not just one, but a multitude in Luke 2:8-10. With every visit, each one would have been justified in being fearful, and yet, the angels begin by inviting each into a place without fear. This season, no matter your circumstances, you too can accept that same invitation.
We live in a culture filled with fear, fretting and anxiousness. We often wring our hands with worry regarding what is happening around us – with our friends, in our families and country, to our world. We lose heart and often think it is impossible to find joy or be filled with faith that God is in control and that we can look to Him instead of life events to know how to respond. We can hear, as those did in the original Christmas story, “Fear not!”
What allows us to be able to do this is found in the good news of Christmas, told by prophets thousands of years before the gift actually arrived. Isaiah 9: 6, 7 says,
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
What is it you need most this Advent season?
A Wonderful Counselor? Do you desire someone who knows and invites you to talk about anything without being judged or condemned? Someone to help you find the path to healing, wholeness and deep-seated joy? You are offered more than an earthly counselor, who dispenses wisdom and counsel. Instead, yours is a spiritual counselor who holds the world together and truly understands you, for He knit you together in your mother’s womb and knows the deepest, truest parts of your being.
A Mighty God? Do you need confidence in knowing that an all-present, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving force is at work in this creation? There is someone who is fighting for, beside and through you; someone who will not fail or forsake you, whose love is trustworthy and unfailing in ALL circumstances. You have a God who fights on your behalf and is greater than any force in this world that is working against you.
An Everlasting Father? Do you need the knowledge that you belong to a family where your father perfectly knows you, loves you and invites you into being His true child? Our earthly families are wrought with dysfunction, disappointment, frustration and betrayal. But God says that nothing can separate you from His love; He delights in you, is proud of you, wants to spend time with you – even sings over you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
The Prince of Peace? Maybe you live in a constant state of turmoil, chaos or change. God invites you to rest in Him and find peace; not a false sense of security or a way to numb pain or forget stress, but real, deep, true contentment, offered only by Him.
When I consider the Christmas story, I imagine what Mary needed most was a Wonderful Counselor to help comfort her amidst the gossip and physical changes in her body. Possibly what Joseph needed in that moment was an Everlasting Father to help him prepare to become a father for the first time himself and offer reassurance in the midst of judgement and condemnation. Perhaps the shepherds found contentment in their Mighty God when they were only accustomed to dealing with poverty and prejudice. And I am confident that they all, like us, needed the Prince of Peace to calm their anxious hearts in their own times of chaos and fear.
God is all of these things for us all at once, but He is also each of these things for us when we need Him most.
He created us to be confident, grounded, loved and peace-filled people in Him. We have been given much and we can receive the gifts that He’s given. Because of this baby, the Good News, we can say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1.
Marit Krueger has lived in the Seattle area all her life and for the past 28 years has called Bainbridge Island home. She has been married to Jeffery for more than 30 years and together they raised two strong, vibrant daughters. She has found both joy and purpose in being a teacher in the classroom and loving people through her leadership roles in her local church. She’s fond of growing flowers in her big garden and giving them away….as Beauty Matters is her life motto and that’s just one way she tries to share the message!
I was reflecting this morning on a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Nothing is hidden from the Lord Jesus.” Your reflection expanded that quote. Thank you for sharing.
The verses from Isaiah are the verses I had printed on our Christmas card this year and the things I long for most – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Thank you for this beautifully written reminder of what Jesus came to bring – that very first Christmas. Fear not – believe. Blessed Christmas to you!