And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:10
If the news in these Daily Devotions doesn't seem as fresh as usual, it's because Pastor Klaus prepared these devotions before he left for Europe. He is in Germany until early next week conducting a seminar with Lutheran military chaplains stationed overseas. He asks your prayers for all who attend and even more prayers for those who cannot.
Have you ever noticed that angels, especially around Christmas time, sound like a record that is stuck?
When the angel visits with Zacharias, he begins, "Fear not." When Gabriel makes the announcement to Mary, he says the same. Months later when the angels appear to the Bethlehem shepherds, their spokesman begins, "Fear not."
Maybe the angels, having watched over us for millennia, know something about us; maybe they know we sinners spend an awful lot of time being afraid.
Many, many years ago, when I was a child, I was afraid. Probably those fears were very much like yours. Were you petrified of things that go bump in the night, the shadows that move in the twilight, the monsters we thought were hiding in the closet, or under our beds? Thankfully, we all were pretty sure those monsters couldn't get us as long as we were wrapped in our blankets and sheets.
Sadly, there were no such barriers for life's later, ever-morphing fears.
What protection can there be when you are afraid of what your friends might say about the way you dress or what strangers might think about the way you comb your hair? What safety can be found against the fear that says you're not a very good parent, boss, friend, etc.?
And now that I'm older another set of fears have come knocking at my door.
Life's like that, isn't it? You banish one set of fears and another comes in to take their place. Now I'm not suggesting my fears are yours, but I do believe we all have those pet terrors, such as worries about health problems, finances, friends, family, or our spouse.
Those fears are real.
But so are the words of the angel: "Fear not." So those angels could say those words and mean them is why Jesus was born, why He lived, died, and rose. Because of what the Savior has successfully accomplished, our fears -- though real -- will never have the last word.
We no longer have to fear because in Jesus we have good news of great joy! We have a Savior, Christ the Lord.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief. Through Your victory over sin, death, devil, and human nature, I am redeemed. Now, when my fears start showing up, let the Holy Spirit lift up my eyes, so I can see You -- and not my fears. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries