In my church this year our Advent season has been built around the theme of “Don’t Be Afraid”. Whenever this phrase is mentioned in the Bible someone is already in trouble, already terrified. This ‘comfort’ always seems to arrive late.
We find ourselves living in such changing and turbulent times. It is hard not to be afraid when our pennies don’t stretch as far as they used to – at home or at church. It is hard not to be afraid when news from around our communities and God’s world holds violence and heartache, loss and letting go, a whirlwind of emotions that we can’t control or name.
We have explored how sometimes fear can paralyze us but that Hope can free us to move forward. How we have the capacity to bring Hope into places, one small action, one small piece at a time.
We have recognized that we are truly lucky to be living in a place in the world that isn’t rocked by violence and war. There are many countries who can’t make that claim. For myself, lighting the candle of peace on our Advent Candle was a reminder that we must continue to strive for that, that we cannot give into the fear that might hold us back but that we must be that flicker of peace that can grow in the darkness.
We stop to recognize that to move out of fear, we may need to look for moments of joy, of positivity. We will need to look for the smiles, the helpers, the angels who remind us that we have much we can share together. We have stories that need to be remembered and celebrated even as they come to an end.
We need to remember that Love conquers all. Maybe not quickly, maybe not in one flick of a magic wand, but with perseverance, with dedication, with faithful caring for each other.
We now move toward that remembering of a moment that changed the world and introduced new ways to hope, to find and be peace, to celebrate joyously and to love God’s world deeply.
I invite us to breathe in the holiness of that moment, to treasure that gift of new life that God invited us to share, to nurture together.
Don’t be afraid of what is to come. God is with us. Remember that.