(This post was written by Michael Wallace, High School Pastor)
I don’t know about you, but I start celebrating Christmas pretty much the minute Thanksgiving is over. I mean, every year the sugar plums start dancing in my head as I slip into a tryptophan coma after scarfing on some pumpkin pie. Anybody else with me on this?
Anyways, this year as we inch closer to Christmas day, I found myself analyzing the role of the shepherds in the Biblical account of the first Christmas. These guys must have thought that Christmas came on Halloween! In the middle of the night they are greeted by shining angels who immediately have to tell them not to be afraid. As comforting as this must have been, I imagine that the fear the shepherds experienced slowly transitioned from immediate danger to cultural shock.
Luke 2:10-12 “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Even though they spent entirely too much time hanging out with the sheep, these guys knew what the “Messiah” was all about. For years they had heard prophecies about the Savior that would come and rescue the Jewish people. I have to imagine that when they realized that He was coming “today” a whole new level of fear set in: what will He be like…will the Romans be OK with this…are we about to start a war with this news…will the Jewish people start their own country now…will we ever see our sheep again?
I don’t know that they asked all those questions, but I do know that when I face fear in my life I have two go-to responses: paralyze or mobilize. Fear has a way of either putting your life in freeze-frame or fast-forward. When I see spiders, 98% of the time I will stop moving, breathing, everything! I get paralyzed! But that’s not what the shepherds did…
Luke 2:15 “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, 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.’”
The shepherds chose to mobilize when they were faced with fear. Instead of sticking with the sheep, they took off for Bethlehem. Without knowing what the outcome would be, they immediately started following Jesus.
And when you follow Jesus…you have to be in motion. Following is an action!
What about you? How do you face fear? Is it easier for fear to paralyze you or mobilize you?