Dec. 5, 2012
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name his Jesus. – Luke 1:30-31
What are you afraid of? As a child, maybe we’re afraid of the dark, snakes or rats, when we lost our parent at the store. When we’re older, our fears shift. Will there be enough money for the mortgage? What about this sick child? How will I deal with all of this stress?
Listen to the angel’s words. He knows once he dumps the big news, Mary may stop listening. So, the angel gives advice first. “Don’t be afraid.” We do this also. When we have important news to say, we often try to prepare the listener. We do it just a bit differently. “Are you sitting down?” Or, “Hear me out.” Possibly, “Please don’t jump to conclusions.”
Mary is a 13- or 14-year-old Hebrew girl from the poor village of Nazareth. Think Podunk, Israel. Not only has this angel appeared to you, but is telling her she is pregnant. And she’s not to be afraid? Really?
Fear is a funny thing. How often we spend time “fearing” things we cannot control or we are not sure will even happen. Fear is like worry. It can capture a lot of our energy negatively. Our minds get racing and soon we’ve created all these possible scenarios which may or more likely may not happen.
What really is fear? It’s a lack of faith. It’s choosing to let possibilities become more important that what we believe. It’s not trusting that God will be with us no matter what. It’s having more confidence in ourselves than God’s eternal presence with us.
Mary had every right to be afraid. Yet somehow, we’ll read that she kept her wits about her. She did not get wigged out. She kept her faith. She knew that God would journey with her every step, every day. Maybe the angel’s warning caught her attention and she headed his warning. I am still working on that one.
Almighty God – Help us hear those same words. “Do not be afraid.” Forgive us when our faith in you isn’t strong enough to overcome our fears. Thanks for loving us even when fear is chosen over faith. Amen.