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Advent Devotional December 21: Without Fear

“But the angel said, ‘do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’." Luke 2:10

By Martha Doolittle

Fear has been a constant companion in my life. Fear of rejection, failure, even success. My earliest memory of rejection was as a little girl of five, standing in a grassy field watching my best friend throw my new birthday ring in the tall grass. The seeds of rejection and fear had been planted.

As that plant flourished, I created coping mechanisms to fight the fear and prove that I was of value. Then in my late 30's, as I grappled with infertility and my husband's blindness, I was suddenly struck with a vision of my life's purpose that took my breath away. I was being called to walk into a "new thing" of proportions way beyond my expertise. Without fear.

People of the Nativity were also no strangers to fear. Destitution, illness, and persecution were matters of life and death that begged for the promised Messiah. Suddenly, into this graceless world came angels and a renewed vision of salvation that took their collective breaths away. They were being called to walk into a "new thing" of societal and political proportions that shook their foundations.

They were to do this without fear of false accusation and rumors, stoning for adultery, or death by the King. What they were asked to believe and experience defied Judaic wisdom. No hindsight revealed the import of each person in this profound story of world change, only critical decisions in individual moments to believe and obey, or to walk away. They had every reason to be afraid.

There is power in the vision that God gives, power that injects adrenaline into our faith and feet. This power that gave me ridiculous courage and a rush of joy with every life-changing event is the same power that propelled Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, and the Shepherds and Wise Men into individual miracles converging in the birth of flesh-and-blood grace, Jesus the Messiah. It is a power that brings joy.

Lord, may we all be ready to answer Your call to the next "new thing" without fear. Indeed, thank you for the joy set before us. Amen.

Martha Doolittle is a multi-disciplinary artist and choir member. She and her husband joined SMBC in 2016. Their daughter, Dorothy, is God’s gift from China.


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