I don’t know about you, but I want to experience a fearless Christmas. But that seems virtually impossible in 2016. The past few years have been some of the most fearful in our nation’s history. With the advent of ISIS, home grown terrorism, and a stock market that gyrates all over the financial map, there are many things to be fearful of. In a recent issue of US News and World Report there is an article, “Conquering our Phobias,” and it tells the story of a nation full of fear. The National Institute of Mental Health reports a significant increase in the number of Americans whose fears have grown into “full blown phobias and anxiety disorders.” According to the report, there are over 40 million Americans who have one or more anxiety disorders.
As a missionary, pastor, and counselor for the past 35 years, in thousands of counseling and teaching sessions, the one big obstacle to faith that I continually observe, all over the world, is the “spirit of fear.” It could be argued that fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools for immobilizing and enslaving us:
- Fear immobilizes faith
- Fear destroys creativity
- Fear annihilates spontaneity
- Fear paralyzes people from launching out into the adventure of their calling and gifting
Did you know that fear was a part of the first Christmas? On three occasions in our Christmas narrative in Luke we read of people being fearful. In Jerusalem, Zacharias, in fulfilling his priestly duties, encounters an angel and “he was troubled and fear fell upon him” (Luke 1:12). In Nazareth, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and she is “troubled” (Luke 1:29). In the fields near Bethlehem, the shepherds “were greatly afraid” (Luke 2:9).
But Christmas can conquer your fears! Not the holiday; not the gift giving; and certainly not through shopping (heaven help us). Christ—mass, the true etymology of the noun-Christ and mass, maessa-a holy day of worship (American Dictionary of the English Language) can conquer your fears. Worshipping Christ, focusing on Christ, and renewing your heart with the love of Christ, can conquer your fears. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8). Christ is the Perfect Love.
Our worship is not perfect; our love is not perfect. But Christ is. His Perfect Love casts out all, not some, but all fear. Christ—mass can conquer your fears.
If you want to walk fearless this Christmas, then make Christmas a new day. Make it Christ—mass. Surrender your heart to Christ this Christmas. Surrender your fears to Christ this Christmas. Take a prayer walk, kneel down by your bed, go into that quiet place, and share your innermost desires and fears with Him. Open up His Love Letter, the Bible. Reread the Christmas story in Luke. Cast all your fears upon Him (1 Peter 5:7) and invite the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) to occupy the manger of your heart in a fresh way. Christ—mass can conquer your fears.
On the Road,