And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2: 10 & 11 - NIV
I watch them outside my kitchen window, sipping up and dipping in the water. My husband installed a watering dish on our deck earlier this year, one that plugs into an electric socket so it doesn’t freeze in winter. For the past few months, finches, sparrows, chickadees, and pine siskins have taken to it, drinking from it and bathing in it.
From my home office window, I watch some of those same creatures eat sunflower seeds from the two feeders I placed outside within view. They nibble from a perch or dash in, grab a seed, and then fly to the nearest tree or bush to crack open the shell and obtain the morsel within.
Each day I observe the feeder and water dish, I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25 & 26:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Worry, anxiety, fear today
This year brought on many of these emotions. COVID; death; economic downturn; job loss; political upheaval – all these and more have impacted our personal lives, our nation, our communities, our centers. We see those emotions etched on the faces of the women we serve … and we may experience them ourselves.
Scholars note words like fear and anxiety appear in the Bible numerous times. God obviously knows these emotions are ones we humans wrestle with regularly.
Yet we are encouraged to not allow them to overwhelm us.
Joshua was told, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Jesus said in Mark 5:36, “Don’t be afraid, just believe,” and in John 14:27 he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”
There is a positive caveat to why we shouldn’t fear: God is with us.
Worry, anxiety, fear then
The Christmas story is filled with fear, worry, and anxiety.
The angel Gabriel told Mary, the mother of Jesus, “Mary, don’t be afraid, the Lord is with you.” He spoke similar assurances to Joseph when he appeared to Mary’s betrothed in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
When the shepherds saw the heavenly hosts in the sky the night Jesus was born, they, too, feared, and yet they were also assured, “Do not be afraid; I am bringing you good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10).
Even John the Baptist’s father was fearful when an angel appeared to him in the temple: “Do not be afraid ... for your prayer has been heard” (Luke l:13).
Nearly every time someone in Scripture experiences fear, they are reassured that God is with them. We, too, have that assurance – and we can provide it to the women and men we serve.
God gives us the strength and the peace needed to share the hope of Christ with them.
Just as I help God care for the little birds by setting up feeders and water dishes that don’t freeze, we who serve in pregnancy centers help care for those who seek out our services.
We “feed” them through medical and other resources, and we “water” their souls with the Gospel.
Because we know the One who is the Hope and Light of the world, the One born in a manager so that He would die for the sins of humankind and yet would also defeat death, we can offer hope and assurance to the people we serve, not only for this life, but for the life to come. We can be God’s stewards to dispel worry, anxiety, and fear.
Tweet This: We can offer hope & assurance to the people we serve, for this life & the next. We can be God’s stewards to dispel worry, anxiety & fear
As we end this tumultuous year and gaze onto the horizon of the next, may we, too, cling to the assurance of God’s care and presence and to the hope and peace He offers … and share the same with those around us.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – New Living Translation