From Pastor Tim Johnson:
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1st John 4:18
Perhaps there is simply too much that is said about love. “Love is a beautiful diamond ring.” “All is fair in love and war.” “There is only one happiness in life—to love and to be loved.” And yet, if we really want to know pure love—true love—we need to look to the One who is the source of it—God. In fact, the very essence of God is love. (1st John 4:8) Yet, so often we struggle to truly believe that we are loved just as we are—with all of our imperfections, failings, and anxieties. And so we live in fear—fear of not being accepted, treasured, forgiven…loved.
The Bible says that when we really accept that God’s love for us is unconditional, we will live without fear. We will not worry about our standing before God—because our Redeemer Jesus stands in for us; we will not worry about death—because our Savior Christ has saved us from eternal separation; we will not even worry about the day that is before us—because we are led by our Good Shepherd who is the Way and the Truth and the Life. In love—God’s pure and perfect love—this Life is now ours—a life that is lived without fear. This is God’s will for us.
Friends, Christmas is about God’s perfect love coming to ordinary folk like you and me. Christmas is about that perfect gift of love found in Jesus coming to take all of our fears away. For those shepherds in the field that night, God knew that fear would try to sneak in to take away their hopes. And so He sent an angel to them and said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10) And so those shepherds made their way to the manger to receive the perfect love that God had become. Indeed, perfect love had expelled their fear.
If you feel fear sneaking in, lean into God. And remember that there is no greater love for you than the mercy, grace and acceptance God has for you in our Lord Jesus. It is a love that is pure, unconditional, eternal, without limits, and filled with grace. And in the face of that great a love, fear has no chance!