Advent Daily Devotion

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Advent Daily Devotion

First Sunday of Advent

December 3, 2017

 In the Face of Overwhelming Fear

By Rev. Shannon Sullivan, Associate Pastor

 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.”

-Luke 1:12-13

 I asked the preschoolers at the Weekday School if they were afraid of anything. They said no, but started to change their minds when I admitted that I am afraid of the dark. “Oh, yes, we are afraid of that too,” they told me, as though it was so obvious they didn’t think to mention it before. People are afraid of flying, spiders, and even clowns. But we also have deeper fears. Recently, I have heard stories from friends and family members about how they fear the end of their marriages. New diagnoses frighten us, as do changes in our financial situation. In the infertility support groups I am a part of, we share our fear that we will never have children. Many people have told me they fear aging because they fear not being able to do the things they have always done. Meanwhile, no place is safe from violence as we wait to find out where the next mass shooting has taken place. As I am writing this, I am learning that 27 people have been killed in a church on a Sunday morning, one of many church shootings in recent years. And so we can even fear going to church. Fear overwhelms us.

 People in Jesus’ day had the same fears. Maybe not of flying or loss of health care or gun violence, but they too feared violence and being alone. And into the middle of all that fear, messengers from God stepped in to say, “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid, God hears you, God is with you. Do not be afraid, God knows what you are going through--- in fact, in the incarnation, God experiences what you experience!

 This Advent, may we cut through the overwhelming fear and listen for the voice of God coming to say, “Do not be afraid!” May the devotions that follow help amplify the call not to be afraid and help you live as people whose prayer has been heard. For Christ is coming! Let us prepare our hearts and our lives for his presence.