The Somerset Guardian, 19th December 2018

“Then the angel said to her ‘Mary, do not be afraid: thou hast found favour in the sight of God’” “but the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid: for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. This day in the City of David, a Saviour has been born for you, the Lord Christ himself’”.

As St. Luke told of the birth of our Lord, so he warned us not to be afraid. Mary at the Annunciation and the shepherds as they famously watched their flocks were instinctively frightened of the divine. That is the natural human reaction and is one of the reasons the Gospels are so believable. They recognise how frail humanity is likely to react.

Crucially, St. Luke told us that fear is the wrong emotion and Christ proves it by being incarnated, made flesh as a baby. In other ancient religions gods were never vulnerable, they were always fearsome, but our God is the God of love of whom we ought to be no more afraid than children are of their father.

This is the message of Christmas, our Saviour is born and we must not be fearful but must rejoice, tidings of great joy are brought to us as God became man in the least frightening but most wonderful way. All new life is a miracle and Christ’s appearance is the greatest of all lives, we must put away our natural fear of the omnipotence and mightiness of God and recognise the fullness of his love and humility as we marvel at the one God not being fearsome but being a baby.

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