I quickly concluded that, if he did, then he was indeed a rare individual. You see, in my experience, most people live with multiple fears on a daily basis.
To name but a few, people daily contend with fears about their health, their careers, their finances, their relationships, their past, their future, etc, etc...
In fact, fear is such a prevalent component of modern life that our culture has developed a long list of phobias, or things which people seem to fear. Among them are:
Aerophobia: the fear of drafts.
Auroraphobia: the fear of the northern lights.
Calyprophobia: the fear of obscure meanings.
Chaetophobia: the fear of hairy people.
Dextrophobia: the fear of objects on the right side of the body.
Graphophobia: the fear of writing in public.
Levophobia: the fear of objects on the left side of the body.
Odontophobia: the fear of teeth.
Peladophobia: the fear of baldness and bald people.
Porphyrophobia: the fear of the color purple.
Stabisbasiphobia: the fear of standing and walking.
Thalassophobia: the fear of being seated.
And last, but not least, believe it or not, there is even an officially recognized condition known as:
Phobophobia: the fear of actually being afraid.
Do you suffer from any of these? I certainly hope not. But even if you do, then take heart, for you are not alone. Indeed, ostentatious t-shirts notwithstanding, the reality is that each and every one has one or more fears with which we regularly contend.
For this reason, even though it has been some 2000 years since the recorded events unfolded, the Biblical message of Christmas is quite relevant today. I say this because the Bible’s infancy (or Christmas) narratives continually address this business of living without fear.
For instance, we read in the New Testament Gospel of Luke (chapter 1, verse 13) that before Mary ever became pregnant with the baby Jesus, Zacharias, the aged husband of her cousin Elizabeth, was confronted by an angel and told: “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”
Shortly thereafter, in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (chapter 1, verses 20 and 24), we discover that a man named Joseph was also confronted by an angel, who had this to say to him: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife... Then Joseph ... did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him.”
Afterward, Luke continues his narrative (chapter 1, verses 30, 35, 37), as an angel appeared to Mary and stated: “Fear not, Mary... the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee... For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Finally, on the night of Jesus’ actual birth, the shepherds were also told not be afraid. The Gospel of Luke (chapter 2, verses 10-11) further states: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings... which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
And so, my friend, what can we conclude from all of this? We can conclude that, to truly live a life without fear, we must be willing to go beyond merely wearing a garment asserting any such. We must actually be willing to talk with God; and then we must also actually be willing to embrace His divine will for our lives.
Indeed, if we do these things, and only if we do these things, can we ever be truly assured that we have “nothing to fear”!
LIST OF PHOBIAS:
Fraser Kent, Nothing to Fear: Coping With Phobias (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1977).