In an earlier post, I talked about being careful about forwarding emails. Many forwarded emails I find objectionable have to do with false and/or misleading “facts” and hate-filled rhetoric. Then there is also fear-mongering.
Is Christmas a time to think about fear? This year, I see a connection more clearly than I ever have.
In the past few months, some things have happened that have us all a little more fearful. Just the mention of ISIS is enough to make me look around and make sure I’m aware of my surroundings. Fear is good for survival if it makes you a little more alert, a little more watchful, a little more sensitive to immediate danger. But when fear runs out of control, it turns to panic.
Any good soldier knows you never want to panic, especially when danger is right around the corner. Panic makes you make bad decisions. Panic sees threat where there is none. Panic magnifies a minor threat to the point that it is all you see. Imagine someone who was so afraid of fire they wouldn’t even drive a car. Drive a car? Are you crazy? That engine runs on fire!
Just like wild dogs, politicians smell fear.
They know to exploit it. If they get us scared enough, they can say and do anything, and we will go along. When we are already afraid, all they have to do is magnify it through propaganda. We cannot, we must not, go along with them. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind (2 Tim 1.7).
About 1900 years ago, a group of churches in what is now Turkey were under intense persecution because of what they believed. They were bribed to give names. If that didn’t work, they were tortured. If that didn’t work, they were killed by crucifixion, by fire, by wild animals, or any other method a depraved Emperor or governor might imagine. There was reason to live in fear.
In the midst of that, God said to them,
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love
because he first loved us (1Jo 4:18-19 NRS).
Jesus Christ was born because God first loved us. Throughout the Bible, God keeps saying, Fear not, because God is love.
Christmas day is over, but the Christmas season continues now through January 6, the Day of the Kings. Keep listening to the angels singing, Peace on earth! Goodwill to men and women!
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Casting Crowns. I heard the bells on Christmas day.
O Little Town of Bethlehem.