Genesis 15:1-6 (NIV)
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
“Do not be afraid.” Here are those words again which reappear in the scriptures 350 times according to some scholars. It seems that so many people to whom God offers something new, from Abram to Mary, must be given this assurance. God must think it very important that we the children of God get this message. And haven’t we repeated these very words to our children when they were fearful of the dark or frightened by something new?
I have come to believe that it is not money that is the root of all evil, but rather fear. Accumulation of money is just one of our many naïve schemes and unsuccessful attempts to assuage our fears of not having enough, enough security, enough things, enough happiness.
Perhaps this Advent as we prepare once again to recognize the promise and presence of Jesus in our midst, it is time for us to ask ourselves what good in life is fear keeping us from accomplishing? Are we ignoring a call,” something new in our lives for which Jesus would assure us, “Do not be afraid.” Is fear blinding us to Emmanuel, God with us? Could Marianne Williams be right that “Our greatest fear is not that we are powerless. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure?”