Published December 17, 2018 by SMBC

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ?Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.?

Luke 2:9-10

I've always loved the season of Advent?well, in theory. I love that Christmas music fills the air, and decorations add more light and sparkle to our lives than almost any other time of year. I look forward to family traditions, celebrations, and the beauty of a well-done candlelight service. The excitement is palpable as Christmas draws near. At the same time, the reality of this season also tends to provoke stress, anxiety, and a certain level of dread for some, myself included. I don't like large crowds or over-booked calendars. I?m reminded how much I miss loved ones who've passed away and become anxious about what the next year may bring.

When scripture recounts stories of people living out the actual days before the birth of Jesus, we find a lot of faithful people who were scared, anxious, and in need of reassurance. The shepherds were terrified. Mary and Joseph were confused. Zechariah and Elizabeth were troubled and in disbelief. And this was in response to good news!

I know when we get anxious or overwhelmed, especially in anticipation of what lies ahead, we?re in good company. As one of God's children, I know I come from a long line of worriers in need of reassurance. While I may not have an angel telling me overtly to ?fear not? like the shepherds did, I do know the good news of which the angels spoke. I find reassurance in the stories of Advent and comfort in the magnitude of God's grace. I pray you do too.

Heavenly Father, thank you for wrapping each of us in the warmth of Your grace. Please comfort us when we become anxious or overwhelmed this holiday season, and help us to keep our focus on the true reason we celebrate Advent. Amen.

Krystol Wheeler is married to Brandon, and they are proud parents of Owen (3). Krystol is in the Journey Sunday School class and is participating in the Servant Leadership Development Program this fall.