The first Christmas homily ever given was spoken on the Judean hills surrounding the little town of Bethlehem: the annunciation of the angel to the shepherds on Christmas night.
The first thing the angel said was “Fear not!”
How that phrase echoes up and down the Scriptures!
When a being from a higher dimension breaks into our world, he typically says, “Do not be afraid.”
It is almost as though fear is the fundamental problem, that fear undergirds most forms of human dysfunction:
Because we are afraid, we are afraid to let go and trust in God to the fullest;
because we are afraid, we are filled with anxieties about the future.
Because we are afraid, we crouch protectively around ourselves;
because we are afraid, we lash out at each other in violence.
Because we are afraid, we lay our faith in man and this world, when it should lay in Him alone;
because we are afraid, our faith waivers time and time again.
Well, today brings Good News! For if Christmas means that God is with us, that God is one of us, and that God has come close, then we no longer have to be afraid.
So in light of that, do not fear! He is with us, now and forever. Amen.