By Matt Henslee
Scripture: Luke 2:8-20
As we continue through this season of Advent, we know it’s not only a season of anticipation and preparation but also of joy. When we reflect on the angels’ announcement of glad tidings, we see how joy overcomes fear.
I remember the first Christmas when my wife and I had children. We’d answered a call from our foster care agency the week before Christmas to welcome three kids into our home for Christmas.
We suddenly had a one-year-old, a two-year-old, and a three-year-old. All at once. Yeah, there was undoubtedly some trepidation, but something melted away our fear: joy. Indescribable joy.
Would you take a moment to put yourself into the sandals of the shepherds? They were minding their own business when suddenly, an angel appeared right in front of them, overpowering the sounds of their flocks.
Luke tells us they were afraid, but the angels said, “Don’t be!”
Yeah, right! An angel of the Lord was in from of them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them? You’d be scared, too!
But something melted away their fear: “Good news of great joy.”
Why was this announcement able to quench their fear? This was the arrival of Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins by giving His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 1:21; 20:28).
And what did this once fearful, ragtag bunch of shepherds do? They ran off to become the first New Testament evangelists. The greatest news of all time has a way of melting away the greatest fears.
There are people around you who are likely worried, fearful, and wondering what the next year will bring. A lay-off? A crushing medical setback? Maybe even the loss of a loved one?
- Tell them of the perfect love that casts out fear.
- Teach them there truly is a reason for this season.
- Talk to them about that reason—Jesus Christ.
- Turn their eyes from gifts and parties to the Savior.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of LifeWay Pastors and coauthor of the book Replanting Rural Churches. He is the husband of Rebecca, father of four princesses, and pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico. This devotion was based on Juan Sanchez’s “The Most Wonderful Time of Year.”