Daily reading: 22 December

Something to read

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.

Luke 1:30 from full reading Luke 1:26-33

Something to think about

Do not be afraid.

In this text we read about the angel Gabriel foretelling the virgin Mary about the birth of Jesus.

Mary is, first of all, before anything, blessed with a promise; ‘The Lord is with you.’ One might expect Mary to breathe a sigh of relief when the angel comforts her, but the text says that she was troubled. And then we get a verse that has comforted millions of God’s people all over time… ‘Do not be afraid.’

Fear, for most people, is the biggest reason holding us back or preventing us from either taking a step of faith or simply acting out God’s plan for our lives. As we look towards our Saviour’s arrival, here we see the promise and one of the reasons why God sent us his son.

To deliver us from this bondage and free us to live out this promise of Emmanuel: God-with-us. The promise to Mary is just as relevant today as it was then and before then. ‘The Lord is with you’, and we should not have to be afraid of what this life or anyone throws at us.

We have the security of knowing One who has gone before us and modelled a journey that taught us reliance on God gives us the strength to go through any situation that brings fear, uncertainty or anxiety.

May this Christmas season bring you a unique gift: freedom from fear.

Something to do

What is it that is holding you back today? What is it that God has been asking of you lately? What have you been putting off? A call, a visit, a response, an action? Whatever it is, do not be afraid - take action, because if the Lord has called you to it, God is with you and will lead you through it.

Something to pray

Lord of all, today we give you thanks for the promise that you are with us and for us.
Grant us strength to move to action and to be the people you created us to be.
Break these chains of fear that strangle us and embrace us with more of your love.
In the name of Jesus, we pray,

Today's contributor is Richard Stein, a former student of Westminster College, Cambridge.