And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
-Luke 2:8-14 (KJV)
Over the past 45+ years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a television staple during the Christmas season. The story revolves around the title character’s frustration with the commercialization of Christmas. At his wit’s end, Charlie Brown finally exclaims, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”
To our surprise, Linus, the timid friend known for sucking his thumb and carrying a security blanket, speaks up. In an odd climax to a network television special, the boy then proceeds to calmly and confidently recite the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verses 8-14. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus concludes.
But something subtle yet very out-of-the-ordinary happens while he is speaking. Precisely at the moment when Linus quotes the angel saying, “Fear not,” he drops his blanket. If you’re familiar with the Peanuts comic at all, you know what a huge deal that is. Linus always has his blanket, despite the teasing he receives from others about it.
That’s the thing about our personal “security blankets” — we will clutch them and rationalize them no matter what.
Now, those shepherds that Linus tells us about in Luke had to have been pretty freaked out by the appearance of an angel. Who knows what was going through their heads, but I can imagine it wasn’t happy thoughts. At the very least, it’s safe to say this definitely qualifies as an unforeseen situation.
Like the shepherds, when something eventful happens in our lives (good or bad), it is almost instinctive to respond in fear. And what that fear does is tempt us to cling to what is cozy and comfortable; to trust in the things that we can control verses the things out of our control.
In other words, we put our faith in ourselves or others rather than in God.
But therein lies the problem. Your security is not found in your job… Your protection is not found in your spouse… Your freedom is not found in your friends… Your salvation is not found in your bank account.
The truth found in the cartoon is unmistakable: the hope found only in Jesus is better than anything a security blanket can offer. Better yet, his arrival makes those blankets completely useless.
That fact of the matter is you absolutely cannot rest in the peace of “Fear not” while grasping to makeshift security.
So drop your blanket. Wrap yourself in Jesus. He is your security.
And fear not.