Editor’s Note: This is the final reflection in an eight-part Advent series. We’ve invited some friends of our ministry to write the devotionals. The theme is based on 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” The heart of our ministry is to connect people to Jesus. As we near Christmas, we want to reflect on the fact that we only get to connect people to Jesus — and have a personal relationship ourselves (PTL!) — because God first connected with us through Jesus. We hope this Advent series encourages you.

 

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10

 

by Lauren Libby

One of the most basic emotions people struggle with is fear. Fear can paralyze us, drive us to action and cause us to question who we really are. Fear is something, if we are honest, that drives us to certain actions daily.

This is why I have always loved the story of Jesus’ birth. Jesus — God and the Jewish Messiah — enters human history among cattle, sheep and livestock in a little-known town in Israel. Yet that event triggers a miraculous event where angels appear to shepherds who were tending their sheep outside Jerusalem.

Can you imagine how these men reacted when an angel appeared to them and announced that God had been born as a baby — literally next door to them? I’d imagine that they were awestruck and probably extremely scared at this “out of the ordinary, out of body” experience.

Yet the angel’s first words were, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). The angel then told them where to find this newborn baby and what he would look like wrapped in blankets. Immediately, hundreds of angels ended the appearance by singing! I’m sure I would have been amazed and afraid! But, the words, “fear not” undoubtedly had a calming effect on these hard-working livestock workers.

Interestingly, when Jesus is revealed to humans, the phrase “fear not” is used. Fear is not a component of the way Jesus relates to us as humans. The Bible says that “perfect love cast out fear” (1 John 4:18). Because of Jesus’ love we are freed from fear. That admonition still holds for us today. When we encounter Jesus, fear is not to be a part of the experience!

That is the good news of Jesus’ birthday — Christmas.

About Lauren:

Lauren took over the helm of TWR in 2008 after serving in executive roles with The Navigators. His life mission has been bringing Christ to the nations and developing laborers for God’s kingdom. In addition to addressing audiences in the U.S. and abroad, he hosts a daily radio feature, Get Hope, and serves on several boards, including National Religious Broadcasters. With Lauren’s leadership and vision over the past 11 years, TWR has expanded its gospel footprint globally throughout the world. Lauren and his wife, June, live in North Carolina.