A Christmas Gift We Fear to Use
Dire predictions of the end of the world have existed for thousands of years before Bethlehem’s first Christmas. Our prehistoric relatives lived these days in December with great primal horror, believing the sun was dying as the sunlight decreased and the frigid darkness increased. On December 21st, the winter solstice, they ritually kindled fiery bonfires and made sacrifices to bring back the shrinking sun.
Since the dawn of time the constant companion of humans has been fear: the terror of prehistoric monstrous beasts, death, pestilence, war, the whip, slavery, and whoever was the Caesar of the day. Religion was born out of fear. Fright of the fickleness of gods produced altars, temples, blood-spattered rituals and human sacrifices to appease them.
From prehistoric to modern times, religion festers and feeds on fear. For centuries an idle thought contrary to a dogma caused terror of the Inquisition, the terror of excommunication and the greatest fear of all—hell! Even today many are haunted by the possibility of spending an eternity in hellish, painful punishment.
The very first Christmas wish wasn’t “Merry Christmas,” but rather “Do not be afraid.” It was spoken to terrified shepherds who were told, “A savior has been born to you, and you’ll find him in manger.” A savior is a liberator! When that infant in the manger grew to manhood he became a great rescuer of those frightened to death of a Judgmental God, of the power of the Temple and its fear-mongering priesthood. Repeatedly, about all of life’s terrors, he taught, “Fear not!” As it is said, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 Jn.4: 18)
The finest of all Christmas gifts is freedom from fear, which removes the greatest obstacle to your happiness. To enjoy using your Christmas Liberator’s gift, think for yourself rather than letting others think for you, confidently following the quiet voice of your conscience, and do not be afraid of what others think or say about you. Walking in the footsteps of the Great Liberator-Rescuer may you have a happy Christmas day and a life full of happy days.