This Christmas Eve, I had the occasion to read two articles, both regarding the Biblical command , “Fear not!”. The first comes from Fred Sanders at The Scriptorium Daily. He relays a sermon that uses Linus’ speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas to illustrate how when we look to Jesus and take to heart, “Fear not!”, we can let go of our false securities, (Linus drops his security blanket.), and live freely in Christ. The second is from Joseph Morrison Skelly at National Review Online. He demonstrates how when our faith is strong, we are free to stand up to wrong, even when the consequences mean imprisonment or death.
Fear has always dogged me. Like Linus, I have moments when I drop whatever security blanket I am using at the time, but soon pick it up again. Oh, to have a faith like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who at every step placed his faith in Christ, hopeful of a full life, yet realizing that death may very well be thrust upon him by the Nazis, as indeed it was. Professor Gerry McDermott once said in a sermon that there isn’t really a problem in a Christian’s life that wouldn’t be improved or solved by more faith. Most of us who are Christians have seen the truth in this, yet we still seem to fall back on things that are without foundation strong enough to withstand the real dangers that face us all. We use money, friends, family, status, popularity, education, etc..., and they have all failed us, just ask a former lottery winner.
N.T. Wright points out in his concise book, Following Jesus, that, “Do not be afraid.”, or, “Fear not.”, is the most oft given command in the Bible - more than to love, serve, or even worship. Not a believer in coincidences, I suggest that we resolve this Christmas season, as we celebrate God incarnate, Jesus Christ, and look forward to His second coming, to keep dropping our blankets and to boldly fight the wrongs of this world so that we will be a light in the darkness and live in real freedom.
Here’s a clip of Linus’ speech.