Photos courtesy of Luke Stackpoole, Clem Onojeghuo, Jon Tyson, Joan Gray, Jiroe, Humphrey Muleba, and Ben White on Unsplash.
“Fear not! After this announcement your life will be more spectacular than you could ever imagine.”
Many people long for excitement, something to “spice up” their lives. So, imagine a small town where very little of the extraordinary happens. Imagine a predictable life where social norms and family connections have arranged your life from birth to death, including whom you will marry. But, suddenly, in the middle of the ordinary, a stranger surrounded by light visits a young bride-to-be. Suddenly, the announcement brings the extraordinary into her very simple existence. But, even as Mary’s scattered thoughts leave her puzzled, she heard the words, “Fear not!” (Luke 1:28-39).
During Christmastime, as friends and family gather together, many announcements are made – engagements, pregnancies, new jobs, new acquisitions, other major moves, and so on. As part of the communication process there must be a sender, a message and an intended receiver of that message. Once the message is encoded and sent through an appropriate channel like announcing it at dinner, or writing a Christmas message, or some other form, the recipient(s) must decode it and receive the message through all the noise (https://www.businesstopia.net/communication/transactional-model-communication).
As with the first Christmas and the announcement of Jesus’s birth, Christmas in 2018 is filled with many announcements that are causing people to fear. Such announcements include: (1) the shut down of the US government and the repercussions for the family members of federal employees all around the world; (2) the volcanic tsunami that has devastated Indonesia again; (3) the lifting of the State of Emergency in special zones in Jamaica aimed at citizen security; or, any number of other personal and global events from illness or car trouble to major weather events.
It is understandable to consider the announcement with fear. But, through the noise, what do you hear? Who do you see? What can you do? Through the noise, Mary heard that her cousin, Elizabeth, was also in the midst of a miracle. So, after she received this message, she simply went to Elizabeth’s house. There, the announcement was confirmed. There, she found welcome. There, provisions were made for her to adjust to her new circumstances for several months. In that time, she continued to ready herself for the future ahead through all that she learned from her cousin.
So, today, in response to your announcement, where can you go? Who can you visit? What can you borrow? Provisions have been made somewhere by someone. Just be still and let the message filter through the noise.
Don’t panic! Your announcement is preceded by the words, “Fear not!”
This Christmas, I wish for you and your family a peace-filled season. Rest in the promise of the Christ child that your future will be brighter than your past. Consider how you can make it so in The Courage to be Free and more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hGVOZ1yygA .
Photo courtesy of Fab Lentz on Unsplash.