I recently heard a statement, that although untrue, offered an opportunity for deeper reflection. The statement was that the words “Be not afraid,” (or some version of this, such as “fear not”) appears 365 times in the Bible, one time for every day of the year.
Although this is inaccurate among a variety of Bible translations, it does provide a deeper nugget of truth, especially during this Advent season.
Advent only happens by the grace of God and the “Yes” of Mary and of Joseph. When the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary and Joseph, they say very little (in fact, Joseph says nothing), but Gabriel reveals what is on their hearts.
Gabriel tells Mary, “Don’t be Afraid” (Lk 1:30). Gabriel says the same to Joseph (Mt 1:20). It is their “yes,” despite their fear, that brings God into the world.
This 2,000 year old story holds up the mirror for greater reflection.
How might you bring God into the world?
What might you be afraid of that is keeping this from occurring?
While “Be Not Afraid” is not listed 365 times in the Bible, the truth is that it should be a daily reminder for each one of us in how we are to live our lives.
Psalm 139:14 reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Live with this truth as Mary and Joseph did, risking it all- their reputation, their security, their lives- to bring God into the world.
Can you, will you, do the same?