I bring you good tidings: “All is calm, all is bright,” is a delusion. There. Now don’t you feel better?
There was nothing calm or bright about that first Christmas, so what makes us think it should be different for us today?
Joseph and Mary, exhausted from traveling, enter Bethlehem. I blame all the glittery Christmas cards hanging on my stair banister for what happens next: Bethlehem is depicted as a quaint little village with clean streets- as if toilets were a thing back then, so people didn’t throw their Bucket o’ U-no-What out the door. Motel 6 was booked-but not to worry! The animal shelter is available. The one where all the farm animals have completed behavioral therapy or taken their anxiety meds, because not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse (or pooping, biting or baahing either). Hallmark says so; it must be true.
So why, in real life, did the angels frequently say to Mary and Joseph, “Do not be afraid”?
Is it possible that fear, stress and press is our human condition, which is exactly why a Savior had to be born unto us?
And His name shall be called “Wonderful Counselor”, because we’re all just a tiny bit nuts; and “Almighty God”, because we need Someone stronger and better than us; the “Everlasting Father”, ‘cuz the world needs a Really Good Dad; And “Prince of Peace”, because – well, at Christmas and every other day of our lives, the peace of Christ is exactly what’s needed.