My daughter arrived home from college for her Thanksgiving break yesterday. My son comes home for his break tomorrow. The holiday season has officially launched.
You now know the drill. Americans literally fall in line—getting swept away by the insane pace of the season, consuming platefuls of goodies that we don’t need, and being seduced into buying stuff that we have little use for that will likely find it’s way to Goodwill or garage sale after a lengthy stay in a closet. All the while being bombarded by the messages of a world fraying at the seams.
Let me offer a biblical preemptive strike as you begin to wrap your mind around the upcoming weeks. Do Not Be Afraid
Woven through the biblical stories for Advent and Christmas is this counsel and consolation—Do Not Be Afraid. It threads its ways through the generations binding together the prophet Isaiah’s words of comfort to those in exile, with the angels’ announcement to both Zechariah and Mary that what was impossible would be possible, and the ringing proclamation of “Good news of great joy for all people” first heard by lowly shepherds in the field.
We’ve taken it as our seasonal theme this year to provide a counter narrative to the prevailing narratives of our time.
You don’t have enough time—Be afraid.
You don’t have the best gifts—Be afraid.
You can’t create the perfectly blissful holiday season—Be afraid.
Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear.
Though fear can be an effective motivator in the short term—rallying constituents around issues; dividing those who are for us or against us, alike us or other than us; creating anxiety in our lives about what we have and don’t have, need or don’t need. Only love invites us to capture God’s vision of what the world can be.
Love your neighbor.
Love your enemy.
Fear breeds division and hostility and anger and indifference.
Love births unity and harmony and kindness and active engagement.
It’s Monday. As you prepare to enter this new season, try viewing the world through the lens of love. See what a difference it makes. Peace. Kai