These are familiar and safe. They were spoken by an angel of the Lord to the shepherds on the field. ”Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11.) This portion of the gospel according to Luke makes us pause at the most important matter every Christmas.
I think we all have experienced fear at some point. Fear is a natural emotion. The causes of fear are probably different at different ages. As a child I was afraid of dark. I remember one day when my brother and I were allowed to go with our mother to see our grandmother. Early in the morning mother told us to start walking toward the bigger road with bus service, and she would soon follow us. It was dark, and the outdoor light only threw a small circle of light on the yard. We did not dare to leave that circle but remained standing there, waiting for our mother. We needed to walk nearly a mile along the track of horse-drawn sleighs. We could not keep up with mother and had to turn back halfway to the road. Mother also missed the bus and had to come back for her bike. I was hugely disappointed.
As a young man I was afraid of making myself too visible to other people. I was once asked to pass around the collection bag at services, and that seemed very frightening. As a young father I was asked to keep Sunday School, but I found that task absolutely impossible. I did not dare to keep even one lesson. I was troubled by my failure because I felt I should not refuse a task. But there is the other side: we should not force anybody to do things that make them really anxious and frightened.
At some stage I was also petrified whenever I had to appear publicly before people. I was afraid of simply telling my name. I was worried my voice might crack or tremble when I wanted to say something. At work, however, I had to communicate with people, and I gradually got rid of my fears. Practice helps. I know other people also have similar fears, and I would like to encourage them by sharing mine.
Then there is the fear of death. We may have thought about the ways we would not want to die. I am personally afraid of drowning. I do not know why. Could it be that I fell into a ditch full of water as a child and panicked? I just know that water is not my element, though I do go swimming. God’s word comforts us and tells us that God also prepares us for death. And being a believer, I know there is nothing to fear. We can trust that God has determined the time of our death. It is enough to remain believing and have peace with God.
What things comfort us if we feel fear? Many portions of the Bible are comforting. Some people have said they draw comfort from the Psalm about the Good Shepherd. There are many other portions of the Psalms that provide encouragement. The speeches and instructions of Jesus similarly alleviate fears: “Fear not, peace be unto you, I am the light, God so loved the world, I am the way, the truth and the life”. I often also find consolation in the songs of Zion. They are like small sermons that create security.
What have you experienced while listening to God’s word? Have you felt that God through His gospel has comforted you and given you strength for your journey? I have often noticed that if I have not been able to attend services for a long time, I feel a great yearning to hear God’s word and to meet children of God.
Fear of sin is a good kind of fear. Sin separates us from God. Children of God battle against the influence of sin. We are not strong enough to manage in that battle on our own, but God gives us strength. There is a song of Zion that talks about the fear of growing weary on the journey of faith. Yet that same song contains the comforting message of the forgiveness of sins that washes our hearts and souls clean and takes us to our destination, the heavenly home.
We are also reminded and encouraged about the power of God every Christmas when we sing our dear Christmas hymn:
”From heav’n above to earth I come
to bear good news to everyone;
glad tidings of great joy I bring,
whereof I now will say and sing.”
Text: Vesa Kumpula
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
You will find the original blog post here.
Oikeudessa puidaan pian sitä, mitä saa Suomessa uskonnonvapauden nimissä julkisesti sanoa. Samalla punnitaan kahden perusoikeuden, uskonnonvapauden ja sananvapauden suhdetta. Molemmat ovat Suomen perustuslain mukaan luovuttamattomia ja suojattuja oikeuksia.
Mikaelan perheessä ei paljon puhuta asioista. Tehdään töitä, käydään koulua. Mutta jossain pinnan alla on salaisuus, joka saa äidin hyräilemään surumielisesti ja Mikaelan silmäilemään tarkemmin muutamia nuoria koulun käytävillä ja ruokalassa.
Annika Koivukankaan runoissa heittäydytään nuoren elämän aallokkoon, sen iloihin ja kipuihin, koettelemuksiin ja arjen suloiseen turvaan – kun on usko, johon nojata ja rinnalla saattajia. Syviä tuntoja keventää raikas huumori: ”Kunpa voisin asettua hetkeksi koiran turkkiin. / Tuntea sen lämmön / karkumatkojen tuoksun / ja myllätyn kukkapenkin ilon. Paijaavia sormia riittäisi.”
Kahdeksanvuotias Nalle Karhunen on kuusivuotiaan Nupun eli Omenaposken viisas, kiltti ja hellä isoveli. Joskus Nalle käyttäytyy kuin talviuniltaan herätetty hurja ja äkkipikainen karhu. Silloin Nupun on parasta lähteä ulos tai laittaa oman huoneen ovi visusti kiinni.
Kirjoittajat eri puolilta maailmaa kertovat siitä, kuinka Jumala on johdattanut heidät valtakuntaansa. Kertomuksia yhdistää kokemus kotiinpaluusta, Raamatun mukaisen uskon löytymisestä ja uskovaisten välisestä rakkaudesta.