Read: Matthew 1:18–23; 28:1–7

An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid.” Matthew 1:20b

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid.” Matthew 28:5a

It has been said that there are 365 commands in the Bible that charge us not to be afraid—one for every day of the year. Whether that is entirely accurate or not, the commands “Do not be afraid,” “Do not fear,” “Do not worry,” are numerous. It is, in fact, an overarching theme in the Gospel of Matthew—“Do not be afraid” is the word of God at Jesus’ birth and it is the word of God at Jesus’ resurrection. Something new and unexpected—perhaps even troubling—had happened and the first witnesses to both events were cautioned not to fear the new thing God was doing. New birth and resurrection are not to be feared but are to be embraced.

What new event or situation in your life do you find yourself fretting about?

Lord, new is not always welcome in my life. Comfortable, familiar, predictable are the patterns I tend to gravitate toward. When the status quo in my life begins to change…I begin to worry. Is it not possible, however, that the change I fear is really the blessing of new life and resurrection right here and now? In Jesusname, I pray. AMEN.