Fear Not: Christmas Message 2010: The Rt. Rev. Munib Younan, Bishop ELCJHL

Christmas Message 2010: The Rt. Rev. Munib Younan, Bishop ELCJHL.

Bishop Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, reflects on what he calls the first two words of Christmas: "Fear not."

These were the first words heard by the shepherds, by Zechariah, and by Mary.

Bishop Younan reflects on the reasons each of these had to fear – and the good news of great joy for all people that they received – good news that began with the words "Fear not"

Today, people know fear well, Bishop Younan states:

Many Christians in many parts of the Middle East are increasingly cowering in fear and becoming timid in their witness.


Palestinians and Israelis today face a common enemy: fear. In the absence of justice and peace, the common denominator is fear. Fear of the other. Fear for the future. Fear that freedom is not coming. Fear that children will grow in hatred. Fear of insecurity. Fear of the occupation. Fear is our common prison that keeps us locked up in cycles of mistrust and shattered dreams. It is a fear that builds non-productive “facts on the ground”. It is a fear that will only ever vanish when there is peace based on justice and reconciliation built on forgiveness. We proclaim that such a just peace is possible today. We pray that all political leaders will seize the opportunity before it is too late. The same message of the first Christmas rings true today, “Fear not!” There is a child who was born into a world of fear in order to take away that fear and to bring peace to earth and good will to humankind.

In such times, Bishop Younan notes,

The Christmas message must speak loud and clear once again, “Fear not!” We are in need of a heavenly angel, a messenger of God, who says, “Do not be afraid.” “Fear not, Zechariah. Fear not, Joseph. Fear not, Mary. Fear not, shepherds. Fear not, Palestinian Christians. Fear not, Arab Christians. God hears you. God loves you. God empowers you. God calls you to be a vibrant and living witness in this place at this critical time in history.”

He closes with the prayer that the message of the first Christmas may be heard:

“Fear not!”

The angels call to us from the first Christmas.

“Fear not!”

They speak to us when we hear the Christmas story once again.

“Fear not!”

And from the manger in Bethlehem we continue to hear.

“Fear not!”

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