The angel said to him, "Zacharias,
do not be afraid. Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son. You are to name him John.
The angel said to her, "Mary, do not be afraid. You have found favor with God.
The angel said to the Shepherds, "Do not be afraid. See! I bring you good news of great joy which is for all people.
This past Saturday, our 13 year old and I had a big first... his first All-State band tryout. He had practiced and prepared, but was nervous nonetheless that it wasn't adequate. We sat and waited for his turn in the school cafeteria with dozens of other kids practicing and waiting. I wondered how many were nervous and excited, ready for something new, and how many felt prepared. I figured in our moment of hope and expectation, I'd call in some prayers. I texted three of our recent youth graduates who were active in marching band, one of whom had been a drum major.
They each replied with similar sentiments that made me quite proud of their maturity and experience. They all indicated that going to one's first all-state tryout under-prepared is in itself a bit of a right of passage, but that it helps to adjust for more realistic expectations in the future. And they agreed anyone could and should be anxious, but that they'd pray for him. To me, their messages were familiar. Like the words of God's messengers to the holy family and Elizabeth and Zechariah. "You won't be prepared. It's okay to be anxious while you wait, but don't be afraid. You won't be alone."
I'm sure Joseph and Mary, as well as their cousins were full of anxiety and hope for their children. And I'm sure that messages from those with experience, close to the source, assurances they weren't alone were meaningful and calming. They were for me and my child. As you wait for Christmas and prepare your heart and home for what is coming and any anxiety that accompanies those preparations, I hope you'll hear from people and messengers and still small voices that peace is coming and you are not alone. Peace. You are not alone.