Two New Testament writers—Matthew and Luke—provide us with accounts of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. But this is not one story. It is a tapestry of small stories involving a number of events and very diverse people. These individuals were faced with things they never dreamed they would experience. This was a new world for them and for humankind. So repeatedly throughout the birth narratives, we hear messengers from God say to them, “Do not be afraid.”
Throughout the centuries, four words have characterized the Advent Season—the days we anticipate celebrating Jesus’ birth. Those words are hope, love, joy and peace. Christians around the world focus on those four words in the four weeks prior to Christmas. Conspicuously absent is “fear.”
“Do not be afraid” needs to be heard today, just as it was needed at that first Christmas. We’re going to spend the Advent season fearlessly celebrating hope, love, joy and peace.