What are the first words out of every angel’s mouth? “Fear not!”
It has become a running joke with my congregation. Every time I read from the Bible where an angel is quoted, the congregation can say it along with me: “Do not be afraid.”
Angels must understand the reflexive fear in human beings pretty well.
I haven’t checked every angel story in the Bible, truth be told, but the Christmas stories alone show the pattern.
In Matthew, an angel tells Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”
In Luke, the angel Gabriel tells Mary she’s having a baby, and says, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
Then when Jesus is born, an angel appears to shepherds watching their flocks at night and says, “Do not be afraid; for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.”
Why do you suppose the angels (and the writers of the Bible) think our first reaction will be fear? Why would we be afraid if it’s good news?
Granted, seeing a paranormal apparition might be startling, but I don’t think that’s the reason we need reassurance. I believe the angels know we shrink from anything unfamiliar, even if it’s for our greatest good.
WHAT ARE ANGELS ANYWAY?
You don’t have to believe in literal angels, although I know some people who claim to see them. Angels represent your intuition.
What’s portrayed in the Bible as a news bulletin from an angel is more commonly referred to these days as guidance or inner wisdom.
But it can be no less startling. Have you ever felt guided into a new area of life that makes you uncomfortable, even turns your world upside-down? Or has change ever hit you like a 2 x 4 — maybe a major change in job, finances, relationship or health?
It’s easy to argue with the admonition not to be afraid.
“Are you kidding? Do you know what’s going on down here? Dysfunctional government. Climate change. People getting shot. Protesters for every conceivable issue.” (Add your personal fears here.)
Personally, I’m finding it a little more challenging these days to embrace the human experience, and I might argue with someone who chirps, “It’s all good!”
But here’s the thing . . . change is required if we want more good in our lives. Something has to shift and make room for it; something new has to lead us to it.
GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY
We might not believe the good tidings at first. No wonder every conversation with an angel begins with, “Do not be afraid.” They have to convince us change can be good.
Of course, most of us aren’t lucky enough to have angels show up to tell us what’s next in our lives, and we might freak out if they did.
Instead, a few people get instant downloads of intuition, and the rest of us gradually feel nudges, see signs or have ideas that won’t go away. Often we’re not sure whether the inner voice is coming from true wisdom, or whether it’s ego or past programming.
But if you are being guided into new territory, if you are entering a different chapter of life, chosen or not, then remember your good shows up as change.
And you have no less than the angels to tell you, Fear not.