Do not be afraid! Mary, you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you will name him Jesus (Luke 1:30,31). This will not be an easy time for you, Mary. There will be talk in Nazareth; though you have done nothing wrong, people will try to make you feel ashamed. You will receive dirty looks, sidelong stares, and behind-your-back whispers; but you are carrying the Lord of life. Do not be afraid because what matters right now is that God has chosen you to fulfill the all-encompassing role of “mom” to the Savior of the world. It will be hard for a while, but later all generations will call you blessed.
Do not be afraid! Joseph, take Mary home to be your wife. What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). God has chosen you to be the earthly father of the Prince of peace. Joseph, you are an upright man, but people will talk behind your back because of what I’m telling you to do. Don’t worry about them because what is about to happen is so much bigger than that talk. Take care of Mary and focus on taking care of your newly formed family, for your son will grow up to save you and all people from their sins.
Do not be afraid! Shepherds, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ, the Lord (Luke 2:10,11)! I know this is a startling way to receive a late-night message, but dear shepherds, go find your Savior, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. God has chosen you to spread the word far and wide so all may know what you have seen! This news is too good to keep to yourselves, so do not let paralyzing fear stop you from telling others about this baby. He might not look like a king quite yet, but God just entered time and space. This changes everything, and you (yes, you shepherds!) get to tell people this good news.
Do not be afraid! Dear disciples, take courage—it is I, Jesus, walking on the water to you (Matthew 14:27). I who calmed the storm. I who am master of wind and wave. Haven’t I shown you my power over and over? Do you still have so little faith and so much fear? Dear Peter, come out on the water to me. Oh, Peter, why are you floundering? Why did you doubt? Here, I will lift you out of the water, out of the pit. Again and again (and again!) I will show you that you have nothing to fear and everything to gain. I will be with you for a little while, and then I have to return to my Father. But I will leave my Spirit with you, and it is not a Spirit of timidity but of power (2 Timothy 1:7). There is no room for fear, for you have work to do.
Do not be afraid! Dear women, I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he is risen, just as he said (Matthew 28:6)! Put away your spices and fragrant oils; they will not be needed today! Stop crying, for your Savior has done just what he came into the world to do. He told you he would die for the sake of all people but that he would also rise from the dead. There is no room for mourning this morning and no reason to fear ever again.
Do not be afraid! Little flock, your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32). Dear Christian, this world can be a scary place, but as one of Jesus’ sheep, you have nothing to fear. Your Good Shepherd is just that—so good. Like the shepherds in the field the night of Jesus’ birth, Jesus’ sole work and purpose is to keep you in his fold so no one can snatch you out of his hand. What place does fear have in your life? Fear entered this world with the fall into sin. Before sin, Adam and Eve enjoyed a beautiful relationship with God, walking with him in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day. But when they disobeyed God, they hid from him because they were afraid. Fear is a natural consequence of sin and rebellion, and the separation between God and man grew so wide it seemed nothing could span it. And yet . . .
“Do not be afraid.” Mary, you have found favor with God.
“Do not be afraid.” Go find your Savior, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
“Do not be afraid.” Your King has given you the kingdom.
That first Christmas changed everything. Jesus came to drive out fear with his grace and peace. Dear Christian, do not be afraid.