Yesterday, I had the opportunity to teach our Sacred Stories class with our Pre-K through 2nd graders. Throughout the Advent season, they have learned about all of the people who show us the way to Bethlehem. The first week, they learned about the prophet Isaiah. The second week, it was Mary and Joseph. Last week, it was the shepherds and this week, the maji. As we reviewed the previous weeks, one of the children noted that angels also play a key role in showing us the way to Bethlehem. An angel appeared to both Mary and Joseph, as well as to the shepherds. Another child realized that the angels had the same message for all of them – “Do not be afraid.” The angels went on to say more specific things about Jesus, but the very first message they had for Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds was, “Do not be afraid.”
Christmas has many inspiring and uplifting messages for us. Yesterday, I wrote about the significance of God’s hope, peace, joy, and love in our lives. I also appreciate the Christmas message of God’s light shining in even the deepest darkness. But, let us also remember the message of the angels – “Do not be afraid.” Jesus is born as Emmanuel, which means God with us. An important message of Christmas is this reminder that God is with us always. God celebrates with us when times are good and grieves with us when times are difficult. Through it all, God reminds us that we need not be afraid because we never face any part of life alone. God is with us. May that message of Christmas sustain you throughout the year.