Bishop Ousley’s 2015 Christmas Message

Do Not Be Afraid: A Christmas Message

 

I grew up in a family where Christmas meant gathering with the entire extended family of aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. We’d get there a few days before Christmas and we’d sleep in sleeping bags in spare rooms and every possible space in the house. The family gathered together to have fun and laugh and eat and tell stories.

As we gathered around the tree, my aunt would ask if one of the children would read the passage from Luke that tells of the birth of Jesus.

The part that I was always fascinated by is this section from Luke, “In that region there were shepherds living in the fields keeping watch over the flocks by night. Then the Angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Experiencing the story with two thousand years of interpretation and cultural overlay, I wondered: why are the shepherds afraid? What is there to fear?

Why are the shepherds afraid? What is there to fear?

As we prepare for our celebration of Christmas 2015, the world is filled with fear. Fear of the other. Fear of the possibility that terror will strike close to us. But we’re told by God, through God’s holy angels – the messengers of God’s love, that we need not be afraid but rather we are invited to join God in embracing in love those who are different from us and those who are like us.

My prayer for you is that the Prince of Peace will invade your heart, that you will be filled with that love and you too will not be afraid.

Blessings to you in this season of Advent and as we move toward our celebration of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Merry Christmas.

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