“The angel said, Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.”
Gabriel here. You know, the reluctant messenger sent to Mary. You might have read about me here. Relaying the divine message that Mary was chosen by God to give birth to the Savior of the world was easy compared to trying to deliver the message “do not be afraid” in today’s world.
Some other messengers and I were talking about the climate of fear that seems so rampant in humans, especially lately. Just the other day, Michael, an archangel, went down to deliver a message that people should not fear those different than them. In the process, some guy called him a name and pulled a gun on him. Good thing for Michael us angels are immune to such things.
Humans like to be in control and when they think they are in control, they feel safe and life is predictable. And, when humans sense they are losing control, they can get anxious, angry, and even violent. Then, there are other factors such as the need for power, greed, and selfishness at work, no doubt. And there are lots of people very skilled at using fear to promote an agenda.
God certainly knows something about human nature. God understands people are designed to be afraid. Fear was a necessary response in order to survive for early humans. Many of us up here think God should get another “do-ever” since humankind is so nasty. But God loves people and promised to never destroy them. Too bad people can’t feel the same way about each other as the Holy One feels toward them.
Perhaps the human tendency to fear anything new or different is why there are about 110 places in the Bible that say something like “fear not, do not be afraid, or be not afraid”. We angels have to use such words of reassurance so people won’t freak out when they learn that God has sent one of us to deliver a message.
Fear of the other and a false sense of security have always been part of the human story. Empires, world leaders, the church, and politicians all have tried to control events and create “fortresses” to protect their grip on power. Terrorists and extremists play off the fear of others and cause people to think and respond irrationally. Fear and ready access to weapons is a combination that continues to play out across The United States today. Having a gun is no protection from uncertainty. It no doubt makes a situation even more uncertain.
Life just happens. All humans are going to die. It’s what people do between birth and death that matters. It’s the “dash” between the years of birth and death on a tombstone that matters. People make bad decisions that hurt others. If people choose to live in fear and not open themselves to the divine message of love, and love of the other, they are destined for a pretty miserable life. And, they will make the life experience of those around them miserable and even dangerous.
So, during this Christmas season of 2015, we divine messengers would like to remind humankind that God does not want you to be afraid. God became human and died at the hands of people to show there was nothing to be afraid of…not people with guns…not people that are different…not even death. Fear not, people!