I heard a caller say on a phone-in radio programme earlier this month  “2016 has been a frightful year.” They were referring to the uncertainty brought about by the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as the next US President. The continuing war in Syria and the terrorist attack in Nice and other places have added to the fear factor that the person on the radio felt defined this year of 2016.

Where there is uncertainty fear flourishes. The antidote to fear is faith in God. The Biblical writer of the Letter to the Hebrews summed it up thus:-

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)

As well as faith being the disperser of fear there is of course also love. As the Apostle John wrote in his first epistle

There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

Human love, even at its very finest, is imperfect but God’s divine love is perfect and it is in that perfect love revealed by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus in which we must place our faith in order to cast out fear.

We cannot tell what the future holds but we can trust the assurance given by that same writer to the Hebrews who affirmed,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

That same love that came to earth in the birth of Jesus that first Christmas still reaches out to us today. If humanity were to follow the example of the Carpenter of Nazareth, whom the Babe of Bethlehem grew up to be, what a change for the better we could make in our world. We in the church, as Christ’s followers, are called to “shine his light in this dark world.” So let us light up this Christmas by sharing the Saviour’s love and taking to heart the first words from the angels to the shepherds when Jesus’ birth was announced

Do not be afraid!!

Marion and I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.