Picture this quiet scene… shepherds late at night tending their flocks. Maybe they were sitting around a camp fire, gazing at the stars, or just laying down to sleep. There is no sound of freeway traffic, no cell phones, and no airplanes flying over head. Now imagine the shock when suddenly, out of the night sky “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). As we would expect, these shepherds were terrified. The angel’s first words to these shocked onlookers were words of comfort: “do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10).

The shepherd’s natural response to this shocking situation was fear. Often it is the unknown which is the most frightening to us. In today’s world, we encounter many more unknowns. An unstable economy, shifting cultural norms, natural disasters, and threats of terrorism are just some of the unknowns that we live with on a daily basis. Still, God’s word to us is the same: “Do not be afraid”.
Emotions (especially fear) often seem to be beyond our control. So how do we obey God’s command not to be afraid? We change our feelings by changing our thoughts. Isaiah 26:3 says “you will keep in perfect peace him who’s mind is fixed on you”. The cure for fear is focusing on God’s promises. As we focus on God’s promises of provision (Mt. 6:31-34), protection (Ps. 91), and eternal life (John 3:16) we find peace in all circumstances (Phil. 4:7). I encourage you to take the opportunity to fix your eyes on Jesus this holiday season and be not afraid.

-Carla Munger BA

Copyright Tern Christian Counseling 2011