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Do Not Be Afraid

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“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God…For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” –Luke 1:30, 37-38

On this last day of the Advent season, Christmas is almost here and we desperately want everything to be ‘just right,’ and for God to come and make things right with our families or in our lives. The world promises happiness at Christmas, but we all know that sometimes that is not delivered. We often know more about sadness than actual ‘happiness.’

From what we know in Scripture, Mary lived in a harsh and often difficult world. Yet, here is an angel that comes to announce God’s favor and the good news that nothing is impossible with God. Then we are told that Mary opens herself to what will be ahead of her, trusting that God is with her.

Last week, I was visiting with a couple who told me about a sign they had seen that said, “If things aren’t going right, go left.” I take that to mean that sometimes we have to be open to going a different way or a new way, or even an unknown way. God’s favor does not mean endless happiness or that we will live a ‘charmed’ and unburdened life. But it does mean that the promise of God’s presence with us as strength and courage and hope and joy is true, and can be trusted.

So, even when life does not seem to be going ‘right,’ Christmas will happen and the message of Christmas is the same…God is with us and there is hope! And the only way that people will know that God is with us and that there is hope in a world that often does not seem right, is when we who can, share the good news of Emmanuel—God with us.

In these Christmas days, may we come alongside folks for whom life may not seem to be going right, and help make Christmas happen for them by sharing the love and hope of God.