Fearing Christmas? Many folks are. Some are fearing the loneliness. Some are afraid of not having presents for their children. Some are afraid of not having food to eat or a warm place to sleep. Some are fearing the hours of traveling home and some are fearing home without loved ones. Some are fearing work on “Black Friday”! The saddest of all Christmas fears, however, is the fear of the Christmas Message.
Fear falls like a heavy burden.
Fear is overwhelming. It grips and terrifies.
Fear can take possession and paralyze.
Zachariah faced fear, too. Can you imagine having the Angel Gabriel appear before you? The fear that Zachariah felt was different than the ones listed above. It was a special kind of fear.
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord
standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled,
and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard;
and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Zachariah was troubled when he saw the Angel. (No doubt.) The word troubled means he was startled, overwhelmed, shocked and confused. I can imagine he was all those things. Zachariah was a righteous man, so why had God sent an Angel to him? Was it his time to die? What was God up to?
And fear fell upon him.
That’s my favorite part of the verse. Notice it fell on him. It didn’t rise up from within him. Zachariah was a righteous man walking blameless before the Lord. There was no fear within him, because where God resides there is no fear! Fear fell. It did not come upon him. It did not sneak up on him and catch him off guard.
It FELL! In order for something to fall on you, it must be above you or over you. Zechariah’s fear came from above. It was a Divine Fear.
Over eighteen years ago, fear fell on me. I remember it so well. My sister and I had moved into a house together and we were in the process of making a decision to go into business together. Then one Sunday morning, I awoke with a feeling of panic. A feeling of anxiety. A feeling of fear. Yet, I knew somehow everything was going to be alright. God was up to something good.
I remember spending most of that day in tears from the overwhelming burden that my life was going to change. I had to tell my sister that I could not go through with the business plans. God was directing my life in another direction, yet I had no idea where.
One month later while sitting in a small church waiting for services, God revealed to me that my future husband was sitting just a few pews in front of me. At this point in my life I had given up on dating. For 5 years I had placed my personal life in God’s hand. I was waiting for His plan. God was going to make me a Pastor’s wife! You talking about fear falling on someone! Can I say I was troubled?
But, just as Zachariah, I could not let that fear take possession. I could not let it paralyze me. I could not let it terrify me. Divine fear is special. It’s fear of the unknown plans of God, yet trusting Him enough to let Him take control of your life.
The Angel knew Zachariah was afraid. God knew I was afraid too. Yet, He says, “Fear Not”, for your prayers have been heard. Zachariah’s prayer for a child had been heard. My prayer for a soul mate had been heard. Yes, your life may be forever changed, but trust the One making the change. I think I can honestly say for myself and Zechariah that God’s plan is always for our good. Trusting Him and allowing my to take control is the best thing you will ever do.
Your plans for Christmas may be falling apart. Your fears may be overwhelming, but trust them to God. He still hears prayers and His answer is still the same “Fear Not”. Trust God’s plan for your life. Trust His timing. He always knows best.
Father, help us to see, that no matter where our fears are coming from, You are still in control. There is nothing that You are not aware of. Open our eyes to see Your hand at work in our life. Open our hearts to trust you with it all. Calm our fears with Your love. Help us to find reassurance in the blessing of Christmas. Help us remember that your timing is perfect. May our faith be bigger than any fear that may fall upon us. In Jesus name, Amen.