Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10 (NKJV)

We are in the last countdown with a couple of days before we head off to California for Christmas. Yesterday, the final performance of “Follow the Star” ended a week of rehearsals and performance. The message of the music, spoken words, and choreography encouraged and uplifted over 1100 people turning our hearts toward the true meaning of Christmas.

I’ve spent a little time reflecting on 2011. We had some starts and stops in our home, our neighborhood, our church, our country, and our world. Wars, shootings, illness, or death bring terror and I can choose to be afraid of what is coming next or I can put my hand in the hand of Jesus and hang on tight. However, I know the blessings of family and friends overshadowed all the “stops” we encountered over the months.

Fear overrides when we assume we have everything under control and then realize we don’t…not even a little bit. We are a fearful people and the Bible repeats the phrase, “Fear not” again and again for our reassurance.

The shepherds, on that long ago hill, knew all about taking care and protecting their sheep. Yet, the appearance of an angel startled them out of their reverie into heart-stopping alert.

You would think the angel’s announcement would go to the local magistrate or city councilman since the baby was the King of Kings. Maybe, the king. Today, it would be broadcast on the Internet and the whole world would instantly watch.

Yet, even as he reassured them to not be afraid, the promise of the birth of the Messiah was fulfilled that starry night and the news given to lowly shepherd boys. Jesus had a specific mission:

And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NLT)

He didn’t come take over as King this time. He came to bring us life and that life frees us from fear. It’s good news for all of us!

We’ve been preparing all month for His birthday party. Enjoy family and friends. Celebrate with great joy. Look forward to a new day as 2012 approaches. “Don’t be afraid.”