Daily Devotion 05 January 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Over Christmas I have been looking back on some of the passages we have heard or read over the past few weeks, whether you’ve done this at home, watching and listening to services, or joining in Zoom worship. I knew all of them pretty well, of course, but noticed that four of them had something in common, which made them stand out for me in quite a startling way. Put together, they give us a very simple but important message as we prepare to begin what is a very different New Year from any that we have experienced in the past. They are as follows:

1. The ‘fear not’ of unanswered prayer: (Luke 1:13)

“But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah: for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John”. God does indeed hear our prayers. They may not be answered in quite the way that we think or may hope, but God knows our needs and will not abandon us.

2. The ‘fear not’ of the humanly impossible: (Luke 1:30, 35, 37)

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary…the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…for nothing is impossible with God”. Mary questions whether what the angel has told her can actually come about. But with God, nothing is impossible, and we should never let our horizons be restricted by the limits of our own logic or imagination.

3. The ‘fear not’ of immediate obedience: (Matthew 1:20,24)

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife…then Joseph…did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” Sometimes we, like Joseph, have simply to obey the will of God and trust in his mercy and wisdom.

4. The ‘fear not’ of salvation: (Luke 2:10,11)

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” The last – JOY – is the key, I believe, to the others. We can’t always be laughing or even chuckling. Even as Christians, we will experience times of unhappiness – and there are plenty of things in this world that will cause us grief. But joy is different in essence, because it is a more permanent thing. It is about experiencing the peace of God in our hearts such as the world cannot give – an assurance that, despite whatever the world can throw at us, all will be well.

Prayer:

Loving God, as we begin this new year with many questions on our minds,
and perhaps doubts and sadness in our hearts,
help us to remember that we are under the protection of your almighty power,
and that nothing can separate from your love, in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Barrie Tabraham.
Image freely available online.

A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356