I'm not usually one for a long analysis of Bible passages because goodness, I did enough of that at school. So this Christmas message will be fairly short and will not contain much in-text referencing. Let's start with the passage I'll be analyzing today, shall we?
Luke 1 (NIV)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God."
I'm pretty sure we're all familiar with the story, even if you're not a Christian. An angel shows up, goes yo dude, you're going to have a child and Mary goes okay sounds good. I didn't paste the entire story in, but that's the general idea.
The thing that stands out to me in this passage is that the angel says "do not be afraid." I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty terrified. From what we know about angels, they probably don't have the harps and halos and stuff, and people often don't know that angels are angels until later. If you think about it, Mary has probably seen a random guy show up to her house and announce that she's going to have a child. We don't know if she knows he's an angel yet. Maybe she does. Either way, she's scared.
Let's look at another passage.
Luke 2 (NIV)
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Are you seeing the resemblance? These shepherds are scared out of their minds. These dudes know this is God and they're shaking in their boots. Once again, and angel has to say woah man, don't freak out.
So we have these stories (and I'm positive you can find other examples, especially in the Old Testament) of people meeting God or one of God's angels and having a little bit of a panic attack. I love that. I love how when faced with someone as powerful and amazing and intensely awesome as God, or even God's angels who are nothing compared to Him, people start to freak out.
That's the type of God I want to serve. I want to serve the most powerful, the most incredible being that ever has or ever will exist. He created the earth and the universe in six days, He set humanity in motion, He makes the earth spin round and He keeps the oceans in check. That kind of power is unimaginable, and in the Bible people have (rightly so) been terrified when they meet Him. And that's the God who loves me enough to die for me, and that's pretty cool.