BY MICHELLE WILLIAMS, VOLUNTEER EXTRAORDINAIRE
Fear. It’s a force that has America in a choke hold at this very moment.
Dave Rod opened the Christmas Eve sermon with several snippets of anxious emotion that demonstrate a collective fear growing in America. The fearful sentiments were clipped from over 5,000 comments in response to a New York Times article entitled, “Fear in the Air: Americans Look Over Their Shoulders.” There’s no doubt that Americans are gripped by fear. And that fear is breeding more fear. People are even afraid simply because they know that there are others around them who have fear. Fear is often the trigger that sets off an act of violence—or even worse, terror.
Those living in fear are not unlike the shepherds living in the fields who kept watch over their flocks at night. The shepherds were terrified. They were terrified that wolves, robbers or any number of dangers might threaten their livelihood and safety. Today, we live in constant fear of terrorist attacks, political mayhem, catastrophic disease and any number of dangers that may loom at every turn. We’re living in our fields with the anticipatory anxiety that something bad will surely happen to threaten our livelihood and safety.
What is there to do about this fear? What is the path from fear to peace? What can we do to stop being so afraid?
We can open the gift that God gave to us for Christmas. His name is Jesus.
“Do not be afraid.” It’s God’s word to us. His promise is that there is a path from fear to peace. The night Christ was born, the terrified shepherds left their fields and went to Jesus. They went to Jesus and experienced peace. We can also experience peace and find courage by leaving our fields and going to Jesus.
When the terrified shepherds left their fields and went to Jesus, they became so full of peace and courage that they wanted to share it with everyone. As Dave Rod explained it, “The most terrified people on the planet became agents of peace.”
The world will give us fear, but Jesus offers peace. The choice is ours. Instead of immersing ourselves in images of fear on the news and in social media, we can open the Bible, go to church, and start praying. We can choose to immerse ourselves in the love of God. This is the path from fear to peace.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; Trust also in me. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:1,27