"Fear Not"

          Sunday, December 3 is the beginning of Advent, a season of anticipation for the birth of Jesus, who is to save the world. Yes, it is a season of anticipation, but it is also a time of fear. The words "do not be afraid" are used by angels in multiple situations to remind people who are experiencing fear in their lives that God is with them and everything will be fine.  When the angels reveal the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah, they begin by saying, "do not be afraid." The angels reassure Joseph, saying, "do not be afraid," when they tell him Mary's child is from the Holy Spirit. The angels begin with "do not be afraid," when they announce Jesus' birth to the shepherds. There are also times in the Older Testament where we are reminded, "do not be afraid."  However as we live in the 21st century we are not immune to fear.
            Today we experience the fear of natural disasters and destruction, we experience the loss of friends and family to gun violence, we experience the loss of friends and family to disease. We fear the loss of jobs, the loss of income, the loss of healthcare. Fear is a loud voice in our everyday lives. How do we deal with our fears today? Can we hear the angels saying, "do not be afraid?"
            The staff has chosen to use "Fear Not" as the Advent theme for this year.  Each Sunday of Advent our preaching series will have a new focus word to add to our Advent Wreath. These words might help us understand fears experienced two thousand years ago, as well as the fears we face today. 
            Week 1:  FEARS - What was going on in Biblical times that caused people to live in fear? Why was it important for the angels to always lead with the words, "Do not fear?"
            Week 2:  ANGELS - Who were the angels that appeared? How did they come? What messages did they bring and why?
            Week 3:  PHOBIAS - What kind of fears do we live with today? How do we begin to recognize our own fears?
            Week 4:  MESSENGERS - Who are our angels today? What are their messages? How do they come? How do we respond? What helps us trust the messages they give us?
            When we begin to face our fears, we have the opportunity to understand how they impact us, and how we might be able to hear and find strength in the words, "Do not be afraid."

Posted on November 14, 2017 at 10:44 am in Featured Content.

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