Thursday, 24 December 2020

'Do not be afraid'

A sermon for Christmas Eve

Never have we needed to hear the message of the angels more.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone over them, the shepherds were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them: Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people.

They were afraid at the sheer power and awe-inspiring majesty of the sight before their eyes. It was unexpected, out of the blue, and very, very frightening.

For quite different reasons all of us have experienced fear this year as the Coronavirus has stalked the land. Suddenly, unexpectedly, our lives and the whole world has been turned upside down

There has been fear and anxiety - for all of us. About our health. About our loved ones. About our jobs. About our plans. About our future. About where this is going and when it is going to end.

Could the message of the angels have anything to say to us as we come to the end of 2020?

Let’s hear it it again: Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 

‘Do not be afraid.’ It has been calculated that the phrase ‘do not be afraid’ occurs 366 times in the Bible. That’s enough for every day of the year, including leap years.

This constant message of reassurance is repeated over and over again because God is in control, God is in charge, and he is a God of love. As the old hymn says ‘his love is as great as his power.’ 

The angel’s message to the shepherds that they should not be afraid was for a particular reason and it is for the same reason that we should not be afraid. What is it?

The angel said:  This very day in David's town your Saviour was born—Christ the Lord!

A Saviour has been born to us. A rescuer. God has come to us in person. He has come to us to rescue us.

To save us from our sins. To bring us back to himself. To adopt us into his family. To fill us with his Holy Spirit. To guide us through this life by his loving hand until we reach our heavenly home with him to reign for him forever.

 Of course the fears that Covid has brought to the world remain, but in the midst of these fears comes the great reassurance of God’s love and power.

He has acted, He had done something. He has come in person. We have a saviour who has been born to us and he is Christ the Lord.

Let’s rejoice in that fact. Let us welcome him into our lives and left us take deep into our hearts the message of the angel saying to us this Christmastime ‘Do not be afraid.’

May God bless us, everyone.


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