“Do Not Be Afraid”
When the Blessed Virgin said to the angel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38), her life changed forever. Mary fully embraced our Savior in body and mind, heart, and soul. Our Lady embraced the new life within herself and for all humanity.
As we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ, we also are asked to fully embrace Jesus. Our Lord chose to enter the world as we all do, starting with conception and a natural birth. Conception-to-birth brings forth new life, a new beginning. Christ’s entry gives new life, a new beginning for each of us to embrace.
Consider the poor shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth: “The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord’” (Luke 2:10–11).
The shepherds embraced this great joy as they gazed upon Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. They saw God’s loving promise of salvation in the flesh. They saw a new beginning for themselves and for all in the glory of God.
God wants us all to find and embrace Jesus. He gave us Mary, our Blessed Mother, to help us draw close to her Son for the joy of being united with our loving Savior by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we open ourselves to our Lord, his love grows and thrives within us as we love our Savior in return. This union of love is meant to be shared so all may experience this new beginning with faith and hope.
At times, I feel my faith and hope wavering. Our Lord knows the confusion and uncertainty we have been experiencing this past year, and God only knows what the future holds. In times of trepidation, I think about Mary and Jesus in the stable and what they endured in their lifetimes for the sake of loving and restoring humanity. We need not be afraid.
Embracing Jesus, we embrace the way, the truth, and the life that we are meant to follow and share. United with our Lord, whatever we endure can be offered up to God to help make all things new.
With God’s grace, may we have peace on earth and good will to all. Amen.