Here is a last piece of the Nativity Icon that we have not yet referred to - the singular angel with news for the shepherds:
"Do not be frightened, for I bring you good news of a great joy that is to be felt by all the people, for today in the town of David, a Savior for you has been born who is your Messiah and Lord. And this will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped up and lying in a manger." (Luke 2:11,12)
"...that is to be felt by all the people..." We can well imagine then that the message is delivered to us too and for all the world, not just the Christians. I want to feel it!
"...Messiah and Lord." The title Messiah means the great king - greater than David and Solomon and all the rest - who would lead the people to freedom, healing and wholeness. But Jesus seems to have changed the meaning of the word and the expectation. It isn't political but personal and interior: inner freedom, inner healing and wholeness.
Lord is an Easter title for Jesus. And so already in the Christmas story, we are getting glimpses of the Resurrection story which frees and makes whole!
'Do not be frightened!" Seemingly aware that humans are so prone to fear, as angels arrive to deliver messages from heaven they always introduce themselves with the kind and thoughtful injunction Not to fear. Indeed, the Gospel of Christ is wrapped or book-ended with Not to fear - as Mary is greeted by Gabriel in the Annunciation and the myrrh-bearing women of Easter morning approach the empty tomb.
Striving to live in goodness today....Do not be afraid!
Troubled by too much or unnecessary guilt...Do not be afraid!
Filled with self-doubt...Do not be afraid!
In life's heaping up of losses...Do not be afraid!
Unrelenting worries about the past...Do not be afraid!
When the plans crumble...Do not be afraid!
Beginning a New Year,
I send a blessing to folks everywhere
who have shared in the pondering of the messages
sent out on this blog in 2013.
God be with you!