This last Saturday, we had the pleasure of celebrating our youngest son's tenth birthday riding roller coasters at Six Flags Great America. Believe or not, I love roller coasters! Normally I am cautious by nature but there is something about strapping into a twisting hulk of fast moving metal that excites me. One of my sons, who not only matches but can exceed my tentative personality, feels less than enthusiastic about roller coasters. The funny thing is, if I can get him to climb aboard for just one ride, he loves it. He begins the ride with phrases like,
"This is unsafe. It's really unsafe."
But ends the ride screaming, "Yeah! Let's do it again!"
Well there was one particular ride that after he was all strapped in, he really wanted off. He begged me to snag the attendant as they walk by to unbuckle him. But I wouldn't do it. I knew that once we started he would have a blast. I couldn't let fear keep him from the fun that was waiting for him.
Do you know what the most common phrase is in Luke's account of Jesus' birth?
"Do not be afraid."
Every time the angel appeared to to someone in the Advent story, he had to tell them to not be afraid.
Fear is a funny little thing. It can incapacitate us or make us act irrationally. It can keep us from experiencing joy, growth, and life changing moments. God knew what was in store for Mary, Joseph and all the other players in His story. He told them to stay strapped in - it would be worth the ride.
Check out how I reacted in fear in the middle of a blizzard...