This Sunday in worship we’re celebrating Christmas in August.
We’re going to sing some great Christmas carols.
As a bonus we’re even celebrating a Baptism.
I pray it’s a glorious service.
But we’ll be focusing on a piece of the Christmas story we usually skip over each December in our hurry to get to the manger: the first Christmas began in terror.
God doesn’t want us to live in fear, but over and over, when God revealed even a little bit of himself, someone had to say, “Fear not!” So perhaps it’s worth asking, if God doesn’t want us to be afraid, why does he sometimes scare the snot out of people?
One of the most dramatic descriptions of fear in the New Testament is in Luke 2, when the angel appeared to some shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, “and the glory of the Lord shone around them.”
The shepherds were “terrified.”
The old King James Bible famously says they were “sore afraid.”
What were they so afraid of?
The short answer is the “glory of God,” which showed them that God was God, not them.
When God reveals a bit of his glory, it’s not to scare you; it’s to bring you into the light. The more you fear him, the less you’ll fear everything else.