Advent 2021: Reducing our Fear

From a sermon delivered on December 12, 2021

 

Isaiah 42:23 – 43:13 

Our focus on Christmas the beauty of the season pushes back our fears, but for some Christmas amplifies fear, because of the pressures of expectations. Christmas is about God putting on human flesh and living among us! Prophet Isaiah 42:25 – 43:13 is not a traditional Advent passage, but there is deep meaning of Christmas. Christmas should reduce our fear. The people of God knew fear. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy was filled with peril, distress, sin, judgment which amplified fear. Judah had been living in rebellion toward God. Judah would be conquered and carried off to Babylon. Coming out of the 39 chapters of fear comes this word to reduce fear. It begins in Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort, comfort my people, speak confront to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity is pardoned for she has received double from the Lord’s had for her sins. “Judgement was coming but God is at work! Isaiah 42:23-43:13 the call to listen, learn and lean on the Lord is extended. 

Listen: 42:23-25 

Who will listen and pay attention? V23. Who brings the correction? V24. The Lord who brought judgement because of the people’s rebellion. Who did not pay attention and recognize the correction? None    

Learn we are in a relationship with God. Isaiah 43:1-4

Lord formed us. The Lord Redeemed us. The Lord called us to belong to Him. The Lord protects us in the difficult times. The Lord said we are precious in His sight. The Lord honors us and loves us. 

Lean on our Lord. Isaiah 43:5-13 

Our response: Don’t live in fear the Lord is with you. Directed by God a gathering of the his people. v6 Devoted gathering v7 God stamps His name on His people to bring glory to God.  Dedication to bring out those who are broken. V8. Delivery of a witness. V9 -13 It’s a truth we have to proclaim and present a witness. This is our task. It’s our responsibility.

A common phrase in the Christmas account is do not be afraid.  Mary: do not fear this baby is an act of God. Joseph: Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. God is at work. Shepherds: Do not be afraid listen to the Good News, Go and see and share with all who will listen. Christmas is about reduction of fear. God giving us strength to live by faith in all the circumstances we encounter. Christmas is God’s promises fulfilled. Christmas is about joy that is ours even as circumstances rob us of our happiness. Christmas is about peace of soul that reduces our fear of what life brings.