We are easily startled. Think about it. We become startled when all of a sudden there is a person present whom we were not expecting. If it is a person we recognize as a friend, the shock immediately wears off and relief washes over us. But if it is a person we do not know, we may continue to be frightened by their presence. We want to know why they are there.
Imagine the shock if we suddenly realized that the being that has entered our scene, is not from this world!!! Imagine suddenly standing face-to-face with a creature from another world. Not from a different planet—from a whole different reality; An angel sent from heaven.
This would be plenty scary just about any time it happened: in an inner room of the Temple like where Zechariah was, or alone in a room in your house where Mary presumably was. But it might be especially frightening at night; out in a field where the shepherds were.
Think about the scene. The air is cool and crisp. A blanket of darkness covers the men and the sheep, they are watching. Then suddenly there is an angelic presence. And light! The glory of the Lord illuminates the night sky—more brilliant than any fireworks display.
The shepherds are understandably terrified. If they had known what a horror movie was, they may have felt like they stepped right into one. Luke says, “They were filled with fear” (Luke 1:9, ESV). Another translation renders it, “terrified.”
The angel reassures them and lets them know what kind of story they are really in. They were not to fear. This was far from a horror movie. It was a glad Christmas tale instead! The angel was not there to harm them, rather he had come to bring them the best of news.
The angel tells the shepherds not to be afraid. This is a command that is repeated over and over in Scripture:
There is nothing to fear. Jesus is LORD. He is King! He rules and reigns in heaven and on earth. There is nothing, therefore, to fear. How frequently this reassurance is given to God’s people in Scripture. How intimately it is tied to God’s presence with us.
We overcome fear by meditating upon God's Word and taking it to heart!
Read through the “fear not” scriptures for today. Take them to heart. Meditate upon God's Word and take it to heart as true. The truth of His Word helps us overcome the lies that cause us to fear—even our greatest fears.