On Christmas Eve, my mom and I went to the candlelight service at Christ Church Plano
, where I regularly attend. It was beautiful, as always. Of the music that evening, my two favorites were Christina Rosetti’s “Christmas Eve” (enjoy this performance
by the choir and orchestra at First United Methodist in Denton) and the soprano soloist who sang the Wexford Carol. Divine.
Can’t beat this rendition by Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma.
The music, however, is not what I primarily wanted to share with you (though I couldn’t help linking to videos of those ancient hymns). Classical choral music is a favorite of mine in general, and especially when it comes to Christmas music, so it’s no surprise that I found the music from that evening impactful.
Even more impactful for me that night was Father David’s sermon; I found it fresh and refreshing, which is no small thing for a Christmas message. The text was familiar, Luke 2:8-14
, where angels announce the birth of the Savior to lowly shepherds (imagine if when the ‘Royal Baby’ arrived the first birth announcements Kate and William sent went out to construction workers). “Fear not” are the first words proclaiming the birth of Jesus, and that’s what Fr David focused on in his message.
It was powerful. I’d never associated that particular instance of those words, “Fear not,” with Jesus. Angles, far from being cute, must be terrifying because they always have to assure the recipients of their messages that they need not fear. So since angles are always saying something along the lines of “Fear not,” I’ve never really thought anything of it; in this instance in Luke, I’ve always (accurately) associated those words with the messengers, but the (now obvious) connection to the Message, Jesus, never crossed my mind before.
“Fear not” was a beautiful message for me this Christmas Eve. I’m not an especially fearful person by nature, but Christmas is not my most favorite time of the year; this year in particular has asked a lot of this introvert. In addition to the socially and emotionally taxing elements of the holiday, Christmas has, in my view, never quite been able to stand up to the power of Easter. I have a difficult time really understanding the point of Christmas, which is terrible, I know… and probably has more to do with the family drama that can often surround my holiday season more than anything else.
Well, all that is to say, “Fear not” is a good Christmastide message for me, but it is also a good reminder of the anti-fear Life Christ came to bring to those who cry out to him for Peace any day of the year.
For these reasons I wanted to share this message with you all… on the off chance that I’m not alone in my reason-for-the-season struggle.
Merry Christmas season—Peace on Earth.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)