Announcing the coming of Jesus into the world this was the beginning of the message to the people immediately concerned with his coming, “do not be afraid”. It was said to Mary the Virgin by the angel appearing to her, to Joseph her husband in the dream, and to the shepherds on the night of Christmas by the angels. Jesus on his part used to tell the disciples and followers ‘Peace be with you’, ‘peace I give you’. Both these beginnings signify the same. Peace happens in the absence of fear.

We are invited to be fearless or to be at peace because we have a redeemer, the Emmanuel, God with us, who is the Good News. Jesus came as the Good News to the world and he continues to be so and we are privileged to carry out that good news. That is our vocation and mission. Let us feel proud about it and do it!

In the OT’ to Ahaz, a desperate king and to the people a message of deliverance is given, the promise of Emmanuel! St. Paul in his exhortation to the Romans, delivers the same message, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Mary and Joseph received this message ‘not to be afraid’ at the most critical and indecisive moments of their lives. The message at that moment was comforting to both. However, it was a very dangerous message; ever after they received it, life was most torturous, uncertain and filled with hardships. However, the message, ‘do not be afraid’, lingered around them all time. They were in panic on many occasion; but they were also composed and at peace.

All of us in our lives will have to go through situations of fear, trembling, doubt and uncertainty, hopelessness and even despair. We wish and pray if only the angel would appear to me and speak, if only the Lord gives me a dream! We desperately look for a blessing, a word of comfort and consolation, of reassurance; we look for some light in the thickness of the dark night of the soul. In all such situations, the message of Christmas, the presence of the Emmanuel, God with us, should bombard in our innermost heart. It will happen, it will be our experience if only we care to go with and take with us Jesus. Let Jesus reign supreme in our hearts! Let us keep praying, “Come, Lord Jesus, take possession of my heart, and stay with me”!
Fr. George