Be Not Afraid
Growing up, I didn’t believe in Santa Claus. But I still got to experience the disappointment of Christmas magic not being quite what I thought it was.
“He’s here!” we’d yell with excitement, not even noticing the gifts under the tree.
Each year, my family set up our Christmas decorations but the baby Jesus of our nativity scene never appeared until we came home from Church on Christmas Eve. My siblings and I would race from the car to be the first to find the little baby and we truly believed it was God who’d put him there whilst we were away.
We’d all take turns cradling the tiny plastic baby that was no bigger than our thumb and marvel at how much better our decorations looked now that they were completed by the smallest decoration of all.
Needless to say I was heartbroken the year I caught my dad putting baby Jesus in the manger. The magic was over.
But reflecting on this, although Christmas magic isn’t what it was for me as a kid, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be just as excited every year. The “reason for the season” is still here.
Just as we are Easter people, we are Christmas people as well. Because even though Christ was born, died and resurrected – He’s coming again.
He won’t come as the little baby He was the first time – He’ll come in all His glory as God.
John gives us some insight into this in the Book of the Apocalypse but we all know there aren’t many people looking forward to the apocalypse. Most sci-fi on the apocalypse is about people trying to avoid it.
If we’re honest, we fear it. We dread it. We don’t look forward to the end of time. It sounds dooming and scary. But truly, we should look forward to it – the same way we look forward to the coming of a new baby. Because He’s coming as the one who loves us and wants to show us mercy and judge us fairly.
So why are we so afraid?
If we’re honest, because we know we aren’t worthy. We don’t feel good enough, and so we feel we will never be ready. And in facing this, we choose to do better, or just pretend we don’t know what’s coming.
People were living their lives and taking wives right up until the day Noah walked into his ark. But the “outta sight, outta mind” approach is a fool’s plan when it comes to God.
And even when we do choose to do better, we fail over and over. So then what?
Christ will meet us where we’re at. He did so the first time as a humble baby in a smelly stable. At 12, he taught Jewish scholars in the temple, he showed patience with a stubborn fisherman called Peter, he called Zaccheus down from the tree, he forgave a thief on the cross.
If He showed all these people such mercy and love, why wouldn’t He show just as much to you and me?
So this Christmas, look forward to Christ’s coming, like I did as a little girl.
Be faithful in the magic that He will come and make all things complete, even more so than how the plastic baby completed our nativity scene.
You may find this to be just enough of a challenge, but take it up anyway – Be Not Afraid.
Elise is a second year Medical student in Sydney from rural NSW who enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors. She also loves food but when it comes to cooking – she claims to burn water.