Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What CSI, Criminal Minds and Christmas Have in Common?

An informal survey of the regular watchers of TV shows, like CSI, NCIS, Law and Order, or Criminal Minds would indicate that many viewers believe that real life police drama is not too much unlike the drama portrayed in the above mentioned fictional programs.  Those in the know would vehemently contest such findings, claiming that even the so called ‘reality shows’ are carefully choreographed acting.

With so much tradition surrounding the Christmas story, the truth about what the first Christmas truly was like can get buried under the mountain of myth and folklore.  I don’t necessarily want to dismantle traditional Christmas piece by piece, but I find the biblical accounts by far more engrossing than any debate about ‘holiday’ vs. “Christmas’ tree. For there I find a terrified teenage girl pregnant out of wedlock. A heartbroken fiancé. A shamed family. Angelic flash-mobs. Strange rumors. Extraordinary sightings. Astonishing announcements. Government enforced census. There was stress, loneliness, confusion… wonder…

I read the story and my head spins. Curiously, the most frequently recurring emotion through the story is fear. FEAR.  NOT busy, tired, or even happy. Being terrified is not the first emotion that pops into my head when I think of Christmas.  At least not until we get our credit card statement in January.

And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. Luke 1:12

But she was greatly troubled at this statement… Luke 1:29

And fear came on all those living around them Luke 1:65

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  Luke 2:9

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Matthew 2:3

Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, Herod the king, people of Jerusalem.  Afraid. Troubled. Terrified.

Fear is probably one of the most common human emotions. It envelopes a wide range of our shared experiences.  We all have been afraid at one point or another.  But, this fear has an additional component to our run-of-the-mill ‘afraid’. It’s what happens when the natural encounters, is invaded by the supernatural.  Most of our lives are lived with general awareness of the remote existence of a supernatural realm –  God, angels, demons, whatever. Fifth dimension. What we know we don’t know..  Then, one day, the curtain is ripped open and our generality is knocked out of us, together with our calm composure. All our natural-life little boxes are beyond inadequate to hold the experience. The only appropriate response is fear. We are terrified. As we should be.

Fortunately, God doesn’t leave us there.  In His word,  there are 365 instances of :

“Do not be afraid,…".  One for every day of the year. 

Do not be afraid,...

… Zacharias…” Luke 1:13
… Mary…” Luke 1:30
… Joseph, son of David…” Matthew 1:20

Put your name in there.  Put your family there. Your neighbors. Your friends.

… you shepherds...  Nurses. Teachers. Engineers. Writers...

...  for I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people.” Luke 2:10


Don’t be afraid.

I didn’t come to terrify you but to bring you good news. 

Of  great joy.

For everyone. 

Everywhere… Put your country there. Russia. Netherlands. U.S. Germany, Malaysia. Brazil. China. United Kingdom. France. Ireland. Philippines. Egypt. Sweden.  Your city.  …Your home address.

Good news. Great joy. Don’t be afraid. 

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