Sadly, fear is a part of being human. It is always uninvited, unwanted, and limiting. Ask twenty five people what they fear most and more than likely each one will have something different on their list. I have a fear of falling, very different than the fear of heights. I can stand on the observation deck of a sky scraper that is open to the air with no fear because I know I can’t fall over the barrier or break through the glass wall that stops you from going over the edge. But if I am on a ladder trying to hang a Christmas wreath on the garage less than two stories off the ground I can hardly move. The fear of falling makes it almost impossible to take my hands off the ladder. Like Linus clinging to his blanket, I can’t let go for fear of falling.
Painfully, I can still remember the debilitating effects of the fear I experienced each year as a New Year approached. Would this be David’s final year? What new loss would David experience? Would Brenda and I have the physical, emotional and spiritual bandwidth to care for him? How were Chris and Dan going to react if David were to die? Like my ladder or Linus’ blanket, I sought something to cling to that offered some peace or security. Sadly, I would hear myself clinging to phrases like, “Oh we are doing just fine!”, or “No we don’t need anything.” It was easier to cling to theses lies then admit my fear and brokenness.
Thankfully, I heeded Linus’ advice. Over fifty years ago Charles Schulz created The Charlie Brown Christmas show where Charlie Brown asks the question, “Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?” Linus steps out onto the stage and quotes Luke 2:8-14. It says,
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Linus’ message? Fear not! At the moment he quotes the words “Do not be afraid,” Linus drops his blanket. He stops clinging to something that could only bring him temporary peace and hope and symbolically acknowledges the extravagant love of God as seen in the birth of the little baby Jesus. You see, that is “what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” God loves us. He cares for us. He doesn’t want us to live in fear. And so every time we started to experience fear, we would remind ourselves that God loved us. This is why I love Christmas so much.
My prayer for you this beautiful Christmas season is that you would be overwhelmed by God ‘s extravagant love and that you could heed the words of Linus, “Do not be afraid.”
PS: If you want to watch the clip of Linus mentioned above, click the following link: Linus: Do not be afraid!