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The Christmas season will be here before we know it—with all the angst, financial strain, hurriedness, and tumult the end of the year brings. That in itself should tell those of us who celebrate the Savior's birth that something's out of whack. Nevertheless, our urgency to pull off the holidays without a hitch, often creates its own problems and can lead—not infrequently—to a state of fear and anxiety that robs the season of all the glory and honor it rightfully deserves.

Addressing this unsettling seasonal phenomenon will be Fear Not!, the 2015 Advent devotions written by Lutheran Hour Ministries' Theological Editor and Writer Rev. Wayne Palmer. These thought-provoking meditations remind us that God is the One fully in charge, reigning beyond our circumstances, granting us the daily grace to trust in Him, even when life clouds our vision.

Using Luke's narrative primarily for his Advent inspiration, Palmer highlights how the lives of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph were filled with uncertainty and a pervading sense of the unknown, around the time of Jesus' birth. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit worked mightily in the lives of these ordinary people, leading them to trust in God, in spite of their circumstances. "We are working through Luke's account of Jesus' birth in chapters one and two, paying special attention to how God helps His people through their fears and worries," Palmer said.

For instance, in "A Question of Faith" Palmer notes the faith concerns of Zechariah and Mary near the time of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus: "There can be a fine line between outright unbelief and an honest question fueled by faith. Zechariah didn't believe God could do it—Mary trusted He could, but simply wanted to know if she should do anything, like go ahead and marry Joseph early. We run into similar situations in our lives. Times when our resources of time, money, talent or strength seem far too meager to accomplish the things God has set before us. Doubt and unbelief make us think God will fail to accomplish those things in and through us. Faith believes, and eagerly watches to see how God will make it all work out."

Fear Not! goes live September 29. At that time you will find at the downloadable version, which includes a large-font text, bulletin inserts, bulletin shells, and PowerPoint slides. Audio availability begins November 29. Fear Not! will also be available as an e-mail subscription. For those interested in LHM's Spanish offering this year, En la tierra paz (Peace on Earth) by Rev. Dr. Sergio Schelske, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be available online for print on October 1 at, and as an e-mail subscription beginning November 29.

Don't forget that Advent devotions make a great outreach tool. These messages can be forwarded as an e-mail to family members and friends who might not celebrate Christmas or believe in Christ as Savior. For men's or women's group meetings or for classrooms use, these devotions serve as an excellent way to begin a meeting or classroom period. The universality of the message—that faith looks to God and not to our earth-bound circumstances—works in any and every context.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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