Thursday, December 27, 2012

Good News for the New Year

"Fear not ... for a Savior is born to you...Christ the Lord!" Luke 2:11 

"Fear not!" This is one of the great themes of the Christmas story (Lk 1:13, 30, 74, Matt. 1:20). The good news is full of great joy and cast out fear! Fear has a way of tying our stomachs up in knots, paralyzing our thinking, inducing panic. Fear, and its cousin worry, can capture our hearts when we find ourselves in situations beyond our control. The Lord Jesus talks about tiny, defenseless sparrows in the context of fear and worry: " Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink... Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they" (Matt. 6:25-26)? In Matthew 10:29-31 the He says," Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Fear can grip us, trying to choke all faith out of our hearts. 

As we face a New Year, think for a moment of that first Christmas, a young engaged couple expecting a baby. Think of all the uncertainties and unknowns they were facing. Surrounded by animals and scandal. She is in labor, her child will be born in a stable, of all places. They might have wondered, " Why is it like this? But she was holding onto the words spoken by the angel, "Do not be afraid, Mary...." (Lk 1:30). Outside of town, shepherds are watching over their sheep and all of a sudden the sky lights up and an angel proclaims," Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:10-11). The shepherds' fear is turned to joy as they hear news that a Savior is born. 

A Savior comes to rescue, preserve, and protect his people from the troubles that surround them. That's what Jesus came to do for us. We do not need to be afraid of the past, present or future, because God has sent a Savior to us, Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the One who will "never leave us or forsake us" (Heb. 13:5). He will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory (Phil. 4:19) and add to us all the things we need as we seek him and his Kingdom (Matt. 6:33). The world is gripped by fear, financial uncertainties, political unrest around the world and so much more. But the answer for the future, for 2013, is the real message and meaning of Christmas: "Fear not ... for a Savior is born to you...Christ the Lord!"God has sent a Savior for you. To save you from your sins and to help you in this life, to lift your burden and ease your fears. 

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