Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God….. Isaiah 35:4
The world and local news paint a picture of a reality that challenges us to our deepest core. Who are we as people of faith in the darkness of violence, mass killings, shootings in theatres and schools, war, and terrorists’ attacks? We would be foolish not to be alarmed, not to be concerned for our safety. I hear our youth asking: are we in danger? Are we stepping into harms’ way when we leave our homes? The truth is that we might be!
So how do we embrace this “new normal” as Christians? How do we remain persons of hope and trust? How do we live the message of Christmas? How are we to fear not?
There have been times in my life when fear has exhausted me. So much of my energy has been consumed with the worry that companions fear. When the angel appeared to Mary “Do not be afraid” was the greeting. When Joseph had a dream that reassured him to marry Mary, the angel said “Do not be afraid”. Our journeys are filled with the unknown. Is it possible to replace fear with trust? That is our challenge. Trust that no matter what, we are in the arms of a loving God. If we really believe that, we will replace fear with trust and reach out to someone who needs our love and compassion. Embrace the stranger, the refugee, and the ones who have been ostracized. Replace their fear with your love and acceptance. We can’t let fear drive love from our hearts.
Love is all inclusive! God is manifested in all religions. Truth is to be found in each tradition. At this Christmastide, let us rebirth God by acting together for the acceptance and well being of others and of the planet. Let us purge the fear in our hearts and labor to deliver a God who lives in each and all of us! Merry Christmas and a Peace filled New Year!