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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Do not fear!

By Dave Frodsham, lead elder, Jubilee Church Wirral

As I sit down to write this, I am starting to panic a little as December seems to be disappearing very quickly.

It feels like it’s the shortest month of the year! Now before you start to shout at your computers/ phones, I know it isn’t but it feels like everything important has to be done by the deadline of the 25th December.

It is a deadline everyone is working to and so everything takes longer, too. In all our busyness it is important we don’t lose our focus on why we celebrate Christmas. With the recent news of the new Covid-19 variant multiplying fast, I am sure some of you are a little more anxious about was is happening in the world again but I want to encourage you not to worry but to trust God all the more.

It all suddenly goes wrong for Joseph on that first Christmas. He is engaged to be married to Mary and is trying to get everything ready. He was just a carpenter and he didn’t have much and now suddenly he finds the girl he loves is pregnant. It’s not his as they haven’t been together and she tells him it’s not someone else’s either, but that the baby is from the Holy Spirit. This baby will be God’s Son. Can you imagine how he might have felt? Completely let down, betrayed and lied to. The Bible tells us that he considers what to do; not wanting to shame Mary, he thinks he’ll divorce her quietly as the engagement couldn’t just be broken. An angel appears to him in a dream and says:

“Joseph son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived within her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

I was surprised that fear would be the emotion that God needs to warn against, but fear is the opposite of faith and fear leads to lots of other emotions and consequences. One of the consequences of fear used by Satan is that it undermines our confidence in God and distracts us from our relationship with Him.

In difficult times we are tempted to live in fear, fear of what might happen, fear of the unknown, fear of loss but Jesus later in his life says “Have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22) When you pray about things you are worried about believing that God will answer your prayer. Perhaps Joseph was praying to God as he wondered what to do and God answered him. God didn’t take the problem away but spoke to Joseph, giving him an insight into the bigger picture.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

Joseph has now heard for himself that what Mary has told him is true, but there is more for him to learn. He also hears why this child will be born: “for he will save his people from their sins” . This wasn’t just an ordinary child but this was the promised Messiah, who has come to save his people. Joseph was worried that people might think he had sinned, but God was acting to save everyone from their sin. God sent the Saviour because we needed Him, not so we could look right with God but so that we would be right with God.

So, remember this Christmas when you are worried what someone might think or you are anxious or fearful, that God broke into the world as a baby to save you from fear, sin, shame and ultimately death.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a very blessed 2022.

Much love

Dave

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Dave Frodsham, Jubilee Church Wirral

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