Fear Not

Fear Not

Today’s Scripture Selection: Luke 2:8-10

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

It is part of the Christmas story I love best – the angel coming to the shepherds and telling them to “Fear not.”

There they are…

  • Tough
  • On the outskirts of “polite” and “respectable” society
  • Illiterate
  • Providers of the lambs that are sacrificed in the temple
  • Living under the stars
  • Certainly not the “rich and powerful”

It is to these shepherds that the angel of the Lord appears.

And the news is earth shattering.

How did they react?

With terror – an emotion that they rarely showed.

Reassured, they then go to see what it is all about.

And we can easily picture them, at this humble birth of the Savior, lambs in their arms, greeting the Lamb that will take away the sin of the world.  It is just one more surprising, ironic, beautiful part of this ancient story of how God saved – and saves – the world.

“Fear not…for I bring you tidings of great joy…for unto you…”

Unto us all.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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