Holiday Devotional - December 6, 2016

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'Tis The Season to Fear Not

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word."
 Luke 1:38

I am in a group that a couple weeks ago was discussing fear. Everyone who shared acknowledged that much of the time they carry around some level of anxiety. We carry our personal uncertainties and then the global ones just pile on - these devotions are being gathered a week before the presidential election, a cycle that seems to have added fuel to our anxieties, regardless of political views.

Can we learn from the first Christmas how then should we live? Consider with me the rhythm of all three encounters and responses below - listen to God encountering and hear them respond.

MARY…
The encounter - "And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary…'" (Luke 1:30)
Her response - "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (v.38)

JOSEPH…
The encounter - "An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear…'" (Matthew 1:20)
His response - "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him…" (v.24)

SHEPHERDS…
The encounter - "And the angel said to them, 'Fear not…'" (Luke 2:10)
Their response - "And they went with haste…" (v.16)

The accounts of the first Christmas are fuller than these excerpts and the reality experienced by these mentioned was also fuller than what we are told. There were emotions, thoughts and conversations about which we can only speculate. But clearly they lived with significant uncertainty, confusion, and loss of control - as do we!

I hear God encountering me, and I believe you, whispering, "Come… come and fear not." It's in His words to us. Will we be quiet and listen? Will we join Mary, Joseph and the shepherds in surrender and service? Or will we rely on ourselves trying to control? I find more peace in opening my hands and accepting what He places in them and removes from them, by His grace and Spirit in surrender and service. God changed everything that Christmas. And by their responses Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds lived their part! May it be with us!

Judy Huckaby