"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people." - Luke 2:10
There is so much in the world, in my world that causes me to be afraid. It turns out there is very little that is in my control. And of all the things that I can control, all of those things inhabit the bottom of my list of things that are important to me.
I love many people and it turns out I can't control one thin in their lives. The people in my life have in the past, are currently, or will soon experience crushing loss and be brokenhearted. They will lose jobs, they will lose love, they will lose relationships, they will lose those closest to them, and they will lose heart.
As a fellow human I watch in horror the cyclone of a broken world wreck shop on those people around me. The more I love, the less I can control, then the more I become afraid.
This means that I have two choices.
1) My go to when I get afraid of what is going on to those I love is to love less. It is actually a great fix. Have you realized that the more selfish and self-centered you are the less you are afraid. When I was in college and only had myself to worry about, I never feared. I only knew joy and distraction. I loved life and loved doing what I wanted, when I wanted it.
It wasn't until I opened my heart to others and entered into their stories did I truly start to experience fear and anxiety about the loss and potential loss that could crush those people. So, if the going gets too hard, I simply need to shut it down, close down my heart, let others fend for themselves, and worry about what I can control which is only me.
2) Maybe this Christmas, we can consider a new paradigm. A new King has arrived and one who brings peace and reconciliation. Good News for all the people! This good news is not about power or control and this is where we get sideways. We mistake our role in this new kingdom as people who fight to defend or expand the Kingdom of God. But Jesus ha made it clear in his birth, life, death and resurrection that His Kingdom is totally different.
Jesus is about love, generosity, mercy and grace. He did in his life and compels His followers to give up our pursuit of power and control and to give our hearts away. The entire journey of life with others from the heights of joy and celebration to the deepest depths of pain and mourning, the good news is not that we will never experience pain, but that we have a great comforter to walk with us in it. We are not alone! And in Christ we are compelled to walk with others so they too can experience what it is like to not be alone.
Do not be afraid. This only works as we allow God to expand our horizons and recognize his power, authority. When we are out of the center, and people's joy, health, life, jobs, love is all out of our control we are then free to simply be with and love generously.
May this Christmas you not be afraid of the uncertainties in your own life of the lives of those around you, but rather leann into Emmanuelle, God with us! The good news is that God has come near to us and given us the mandate to draw near to others!