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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fear Not!

I first wrote this short reflection back in the late '90's, but recently pull it out and upon re-reading it and making only a few minor changes found these first words of Christmas still echoing and calling us to better life. 

"Do not be afraid, for see I am bringing good news of great joy for all the people." Luke 2:10 

      "Fear not!" are the first words of Christmas. 
      Years ago my daughters, now adults but then about five and three, were watching television, and had stumbled upon an old episode of "Lassie".  I walked into the room to see the famous collie trudging through deep, blinding snow.  It was a dangerous, fearful scene. 
      The youngest was visibly upset.  However, before I could offer assuring words, her older sister put a tiny arm around her and said, "Don't be afraid. It's just the music."  And she was right.  With the sound turned down, it was just a dog walking through snow. The fear was in the music.
      So, why is there so much noisy fear in the world and in our lives?  For many years now it seems fear has been and continues to be the motivation for much of what we do.  We're afraid of terrorists. People with guns traumatize and paralyze communities and nations.  Seniors are afraid of the rising costs of health care and drugs.  Young people fear they've been sold a bill of goods about hard work and education and cry, "Where are the jobs?"- Not to mention safety nets to catch them when they get old.  Some people are afraid freedoms are being sacrificed in the name of "homeland security" while others will give up just about anything to feel safe. Border fences, gated communities, check points and profiling are considered necessary and common. 
      The stock market rises and falls on fear. Every other month there's a threatened government shutdown. The environment is endangered.  Pension funds have been raped. And don't forget taxes, liberals, fundamentalist, drones, global warming, world economy, pedophiles, snipers, conservatives, illegal aliens, high cholesterol and low libido.
      For God's sake, someone turn off the sound!
      And when the fearful sounds surrounding us fade away, what remains?   Like a dog trudging through the snow, we are simply people traveling through life.
      So, this year why not really hear the first words of Christmas, "Fear not!" Don't be afraid to reconnect with old friends, mend fences with an adversary, wear silly Santa hats, put blinking lights on your necktie or scarf and put folding money in the charity kettle. 
      Don't be afraid to admit failure, confess that we don't have all the answers, or concede that another person's beliefs hold Truth.  Don't be afraid to risk, to love, to live.  Don't be afraid to look at another human being without the noise of religion, racial prejudice, sexual phobias, or ideological bias. 
      In silence, holding out our hands to one another, we are just people walking through life together. And if for a brief moment we can imagine life with the sound turned down.  What do we hear?  Could it be the sound of Peace? 
       "Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright."  Christmas is a time when God puts an arm around us and says, "Don't be afraid.  It's just the music".  
      For all people of the world the good news and great joy of Christmas are the first words of Christmas: "Fear Not!

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. wonderful words and so timely. Have a wonderful Christmas!