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The Angel Said to Them, "Do No Be Afraid"

There are many things I love about the Christmas season. I love unpacking the Christmas boxes and decorating our home with festive holiday lights and trappings. I love the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. I love spending time with family and making special memories.

But, my ultimate pleasure is not found this time of year in a box, in a tree, in the smell of pine, or even in the pretty twinkle lights. It is in the hope, the love, and the joy that this season represents. This time of reflection, of wonder, and of light; a light that shines in the bleakest darkness and quiets our fears. This is the reason I love this season.


Luke 2:10 says, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”


Let’s reflect on that for a moment.


The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid…”


Did you know that “fear not” or “be not afraid” is the most repeated command/phrase in the Bible? There are over 500 mentions of “fear” throughout Scripture. Hmmmm, interesting. If something is repeated that excessively, there must be a reason, right? Furthermore, if it was mentioned on the day of Jesus’ birth (the most historically impactful life ever recorded) then, maybe, we should consider the idea of taking heed and listening. Because someone is trying to tell us something. Someone gets us. Someone knows we are afraid.


Someone knows we are afraid all the time.


Brothers and sisters, it’s “honesty zone” time. I am not too proud to admit, that I am somewhat afraid of the dark. It stems back to my childhood and when I was first struggling with my lupus. I was in crippling pain and could never sleep. My deepest, darkest fears about lupus, and my pending doom, always engulfed me in the late hours of the night. I felt alone. I felt scared. I was afraid. All the time.


The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid…”


Have you felt that way? Are you afraid of the dark? Or maybe you are struggling with another fear. Maybe you are afraid of letting people down, or dying, or living a life ruled and ruined by lupus.


One of my favorite literary heroes is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. My love for him goes all the way back to my fifth grade year when I first memorized, “Paul Revere's Ride.” I have since quoted him more times that I can remember, during my speaking engagements, blogs, and support groups. Earlier, I was struck with amazement when I was re-reading one of my favorite sayings by him, and I realized the next line mentioned fear. He said, “Look not mournfully into the past, it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present, it is thine.” Sound familiar? I know, I say it a lot, but it’s the next line that took my breath away. It continues, “Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear…


Wow. How have I missed that all these years? There it is, staring plainly back at me...fear not.


The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid…”


Now, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's life was not an easy one. His work was influenced by his trials, hardships, and his fears. In fact, the famous holiday carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” was based on overcoming one of his deepest, darkest moments. In 1861, a tragic accident took his beloved wife. After losing his wife, he fell into a deep, dark despair. His writing on the Christmas Day that followed the death of his wife, said this: “How inexplicably sad are all holidays,” and “A ‘merry Christmas’ say the children, but there is no more for me.” More tragedy followed when in 1863, Longfellow’s son was severely injured in the Civil War. That year, his journal was completely silenced by his grief and sadness.


However, the following year, on December 24, 1864, Longfellow wrote a poem that was later set to music. Here are the words:


I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play; In music sweet the tones repeat, “There’s peace on earth, good will to men.”

I thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along th’ unbroken song Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong, and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor does He sleep, For Christ is here; His Spirit near Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”

When men repent and turn from sin The Prince of Peace then enters in, And grace imparts within their hearts His peace on earth, good will to men.

O souls amid earth’s busy strife, The Word of God is light and life; Oh, hear His voice, make Him your choice, Hail peace on earth, good will to men.

Then happy, singing on your way, Your world will change from night to day; Your heart will feel the message real, Of peace on earth, good will to men.


These sentiments emerged from his personal tragedies. It reminded me, and I hope that it reminds you, that we can have both grief and joy at the same time. That even in our darkest night, our saddest moments, when “O souls amid earth’s busy strife,” that there is a light in the darkness. You don’t have to be afraid.


The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid…”


Is this time of year a time of reflection, of wonder, and of light for you? A time that even in your grief, you experience joy because you know grief only exists where love first lived. A time to acknowledge that we all so often mistake fear for grief and we let it steal our joy during this time of year.


In Luke 2:10, the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid…” However, what the angel didn’t say to them was, “Do not be sad.” The angel didn’t say “Do not miss your lost loved ones.” The angel didn’t say, “Do not feel lonely.” The angel didn’t say, “In this world you will not have any troubles.” The angel didn’t say, “Be perfect.” The angel didn’t say, “Don’t ask for help.” The angel didn’t say, “Keep your worries to yourself.”


This is the reason I love this season. It is a reminder of those truths. That it’s okay to feel those feelings, but it’s not okay to let fear consume you. It doesn’t deserve to do that this holiday or any other day of the year. I hope this season reminds you of this truth as well.


Have a joy-filled Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Peace be with you,

Kelli





Article By:

Kelli Roseta


**All resources provided by this blog are for informational purposes only, not to replace the advice of a medical professional. Kelli encourages you to always contact your medical provider with any specific questions or concerns regarding your illness. All intellectual property and content on this site and in this blog is owned by morethanlupus.com. This includes materials protected by copyright, trademark, or patent laws. Copyright, More Than Lupus 2018.

Sources:

https://www.soulshepherding.org/fear-not-365-days-a-year/

https://www.drivethruhistory.com/historical-influence-of-jesus/

https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/I_Heard_the_Bells_on_Christmas_Day/

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