It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, yet for many, Christmas 2020 is turning out to be the most frightening time of the year. Let’s pause for a moment to alter our perspective on what’s swirling around in our heads. Christmas wasn’t always so merry and bright. If we go back to the first couple of Christmases, there was plenty of fear and angst there as well. Let’s look at our ancestors and see how they handled events.
Mary was fearful. In Luke 1 we read how the angel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary and told her, Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! (28) Despite this majestic greeting, Mary was distraught and wondered what on earth was going on. Gabriel then told her Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 This also did nothing to calm her nerves as she was a virgin and was no doubt trying to figure out exactly how this "great news" would play out. After Gabriel confirmed the Holy Spirit would come upon her, Mary dismissed her fears and switched over to faith mode. She claimed, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Joseph was skeptical. In Matthew 1, we read about Mary's husband, Joseph, finding out about her pregnancy through the Holy Spirit. Joseph was faithful to the law and sensitive to how this would play out if he divorced Mary. The Bible states he had a mind to divorce her quietly to preserve as much of her reputation as he could. An angel also appeared to him, stating, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 Joseph, like Mary, obeyed the angel humbly as God’s servant and switched from fear mode to faith mode.
The Shepherds were terrified. In Luke 2, we read about the shepherds in nearby fields keeping watch over their flocks. Suddenly, An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 Again, the angels had to calm down the humans and said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 And then a whole host of heavenly beings appeared praising God! This declaration served as confirmation to the Shepherds that they needed to go to Bethlehem to see what the Lord had told them. They, too, chose faith over fear. Can you even imagine what it must have been like to observe the Christ child as a tiny baby?
Herod was troubled. In Matthew 2, we read the account of King Herod's reaction to the birth of Jesus, King of the Jews, from the wise men claiming they had seen the star and come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 Herod was afraid because he dreaded the overthrow of his throne. He stayed in fear mode and for a good reason. Christ's birth, death, resurrection, and reign had already been prophesized. Herod knew that what had been foretold was becoming a reality.
So, you see, they were scared too. But we have a choice about which state we are going to remain in. The real lesson to remember not just on Christmas Day— but every day— is that faith has conquered fear and that the two cannot coexist. You have to pick one or the other. It is natural to be frightened, but we cannot dwell in the grip of fear. Fear kills. Fear destroys. Fear poisons. Our bodies can catch a disease of our minds. We have all experienced varying degrees of being frightened this year. Still, the key is to move out of the SCARY and into the MERRY.
Many of us felt captive in the grip of fear this year because of a fear of death. Death is the devil's most potent, terrifying weapon against us. Let us not forget, though, that the reason for our joy in Christmas rests solidly in the fact that Christ conquered death because He was sinless. He was born in a manger and took on human form to walk this earth and suffer the most humiliating, undeserved, and painful death. He did that for every single one of us so that we no longer have to live in fear. Christ conquered death because he was perfect, born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit. His voluntary sacrifice at the cross enables us the opportunity to live triumphantly and eternally in this life and the next. Christ defeated Satan at the cross. Let us rejoice this Christmas and remember his entrance into our natural world in a way that reflects our awareness of the ultimate gift he gave.
I have two tremendous gifts for you this Christmas, two tremendous gifts that are guaranteed to put you in the merriest of moods and mindsets!! First, a free download of my father's Life-Changing Classic, The Three Decision. In it, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones shares how he finally had to decide for himself if he was going to believe in God or not. So many people I know are scared of the COVID-19 virus because they are scared of death. You don't have to live this way. I had the virus and beat it, but my end would only have been physical if it had taken me. You see, when you decide to commit your life to Christ and accept the gift of his sacrifice, you die once, but you live life twice.
My second gift to you is a download of The Eternal Life Insurance Policy. When my father met Christ and entered into a personal relationship with him, he was a young insurance salesman. My father then created this pamphlet sharing how you can claim all the benefits of eternal life while living here and now! The dividends begin paying immediately!! And the benefits are out of this world!
May you all have a very Merry Christmas, remembering that faith has conquered fear. So let’s celebrate Jesus’ birthday like we mean it!!