Don’t be afraid!
A New Way of Reading the Christmas Story — Part 9
It’s what the angels said to the shepherds. It’s what Gabriel said to Mary.
It’s one of the Bible’s favourite phrases.
At first it sounds simply like an instruction for the moment: ‘I know you’re shocked, but it’s OK, we’re not going to hurt you’. And I suppose it does mean that in a way.
But I think it goes much deeper.
Don’t be afraid. Ever. Don’t spend time hanging out in fear. It’s the opposite of where you need to look.
Because the opposite of fear is love.
Love: unconditional openheartedness. Absence of judgement. Openness and welcome to what is.
When we are fearful, anxious, afraid, we are judgemental of ourselves and others, we shut ourselves off and limit ourselves, we struggle against what is, and we suffer. We experience mental stress and turmoil.
That’s why the call is ‘Don’t be afraid!’
It’s a call to look in a different direction.
What if our focus in life is simply to seek to be ever more openhearted?
What if we move away from our judgements — those negative judgements of ourselves which keep us limited and small, and those judgements of others that keep us feeling separate, threatened and in conflict?
We don’t need to be afraid: we are connected to a universal intelligence; a tiny part of a much great pattern being woven into the fabric of life, which we cannot see, and do not need to understand.
Simply catching a glimpse of it is enough.
Don’t be afraid.