by Cynthia Cavanaugh @CavCynthia
It’s a demanding season. A season with lots of room for failure. I worry that my preparations for the holiday will be insufficient. Will I give the right gifts? Decorate the house well enough? Make the kind of goodies my family will appreciate? It’s so easy to fall into a people-pleasing trap.
Believe it or not, potential for fear is a big part of the Christmas story. Remember the reaction of the shepherds on that dark hillside when the angel suddenly appeared? (One we can completely understand, given the extraordinary event!) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10 NIV).
God addressed their fear first before giving them the news. He told them they didn’t need to be afraid because what they were about to hear would bring them great joy. They needed to calm down before they could hear what the angel had to say.
In the same way, God wants to address our fear this Christmas.
Of course, we first have to acknowledge that we are afraid. That may take slowing down long enough to fully recognize it. Once you do, grab a piece of paper and start writing. What are you afraid of this December?
Ask God to help. Because if we let fear drive us, our need to control will take over like a run-away train, and we will be miserable. Take it from me; I’ve done it so many times, and I’ve made not only myself miserable but my family, too!
We can’t miss the second part of the announcement. The angels told them what they could discover once they let go of their fear. “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savoir, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 NIV).
What waited for them was the tiny Messiah. They would recognize Him right away, because of His humble surroundings, sleeping in a crude manger. Immanuel, God with us.
When the angels had left them and the dark and quiet had returned, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15 NIV ). The next verse tells us that they hurried to see Jesus.
My fear this Christmas is that I won’t have enough time to get everything done, no matter how I rush around and frantically plan. It’s all so exhausting. The only kind of hurrying I really want to do is to hurry to see Jesus, as the shepherds did that night. Because He is the greatest reason for joy.
So in order to make sure that fear doesn’t dominate my Christmas, I am purposely choosing to simplify a few things this year. And allow myself the joy of being in His presence.
Let’s name our fears together, then let them go, and hurry as the shepherds did to spend a few moments with Jesus. I believe that in that process, that our joy for the season will be recaptured.
… ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. John 16:24 NASB
About the author: Cynthia Cavanaugh is the author of five books, including Anchored, and is a speaker, life coach, and leadership professor at Trinity Western University. She knows nothing about coffee and is a self-proclaimed tea addict who loves connecting with women helping them to flourish.
Join the conversation: What are the fears that bother you during the busy holiday season?