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The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ or variations of it, appear many times in Scripture.

In Deuteronomy we are told not to fear when we go into battle against our enemies, for ‘Your God is with you’ (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)

In Isaiah, God speaks through the prophet saying ‘do not be afraid, for I am with you’ (Isaiah 41:10).

In Luke, the angel Gabriel addresses the Virgin saying. ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour.

Whilst in Corinth, the Lord spoke to St Paul in a vision, ‘Be fearless, speak out and do not keep silence: I am with you’ (Acts 18: 9-10).

John is instructed to write to the angel of the church in Smyrna, ‘Do not be afraid of the sufferings that are coming to you.’ Revelation 2:10.

On each occasion we see that when God is with us, there is nothing the fear. Hence in the Holy Mass, we hear the words ‘The Lord be with you’ on four occasions and on another ‘Peace be with you’ and we respond ‘And with your Spirit.’

So whatever it is we fear, the simple message is to turn back to God. As we wait the last few hours before the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord, let us commit ourselves once more to God so that together we can face the future, whatever it holds.

Happy Christmas!