One of the many gifts I think parents need to share with their children is the gift of listening to that still, quiet voice or trusting their gut. I believe God’s wisdom comes to us through those whispers of conscious, or that intuitive sense we get about someone or something. I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you: someone pops into your mind out of the blue. You pick up the phone to call them or email them or send a little note in the mail, only to find out your message came at a very opportune time for them. That’s God’s wisdom sparking us.
Another lifetime ago, I headed up the domestic violence and abuse programs at an Army post in Massachusetts. When working with the children, it was about identifying the oh-oh feeling; the sense of not feeling safe or being afraid or something not feeling quite right. Children may not be able to verbalize what’s going on, but they sure know if it feels right or not.
There were lots of oh-oh feelings leading up to the joyous birth of Jesus. In fact, every time an angel appeared, was an oh-oh feeling. Have you ever noticed the first words of the angel, “Do not be afraid…” Zechariah was doing his priestly duty in the temple when the angel showed up, telling him to not be afraid his prayers had been heard. His barren wife would be a son. We all know the news the angel brought Mary, prefacing with “Do not be afraid.” And the shepherds! Living out in the fields tending their sheep when and angel shows up before them! Of course they were terrified and the angel began with, “Do not be afraid.”
Every time an angel shows up, it’s a pretty good indicator that something unusual is about to occur. Sometimes a complete upheaval of one’s life! The “do not be afraid” is God’s disclaimer that nothing bad will happen.
I haven’t had an angel of the Lord appear to me, but I certainly know that oh-oh feeling when something unusual is about to happen. It’s that intuitive feeling that you’re about to embark on a new journey or step out of your comfort arena or be faced with a decision that you don’t know how to decide. I would sure welcome the do-not-be-afraid disclaimer at those times; a reminder that nothing bad is going to happen.
Would that change how we approach those crossroads, or free us up on the journey when we have no idea where the path is taking us? Can we take to heart, as Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds did and hear God’s wisdom or message to us? I’m sure Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds moved beyond their fear because they all experienced the wonder and joy of the angel’s message to each of them. I wonder how much we miss of God breaking into our lives because we are terrified and afraid.
As we move through this Christmas season, may you be mindful that God desires to break into our lives, bringing wonder and blessing and joy!