And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20
The Third Gift of Christmas: Courage
One of the most frequently uttered phrases in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid.” The story of Christmas is laced with sentiments of courage. Mary and Joseph were told not to fear the miracle that was before them. Somehow, it seems as if the first stages of the pregnancy were perhaps easier to face with courage than the latter. But can you imagine what that labor and delivery room must have looked like? How it must have felt to this young girl and her husband. There was no sanitation. There was no epidural. Mary, a teenager, had to deliver the Messiah in a cold, dirty stable— mostly alone. I’m sure Joseph was as good a birth coach as he could be, but how terrified he must have felt as he watched his new bride suffer and struggle.
Then again, perhaps fear was not the dominant emotion that night. Maybe those words from God—those words of courage—rose above the fear of that young couple.
What are your fears today? Does it seem daunting? When is the last time you listened to your Savior whispering, “Do not be afraid”?
Sometimes we find courage when we share it with others. Today, millions of women will be facing childbirth, perhaps in conditions comparable to Mary’s. Many don’t have access to the medical facilities you and I are privileged to enjoy. In far too many of these situations, death during childbirth is not an unlikely outcome.
But you can help. You can give the gift of courage to a mother-to-be today. Through the BGR Gift Catalog, you can support birthing classes to expectant mothers around the world. You can give the gift of bravery. You can assuage the fear of young mothers. In so doing, take heed of the courage that lies within you right now. It takes courage to change the world—which you are already doing. It takes a brave soul to step forward and give. You are such a soul, and the world is a braver, more courageous place because of you.
Father, thank you so much for sending supernatural courage to Mary and Joseph. Thank you for overwhelming their delivery room with the bravery of your reassuring spirit. Help me move beyond my fears today. Father, help me find the courage to do what I should, say what I should, and be who You created me to be. Lord, please be with the families around the world facing the reality of a risky pregnancy and delivery. Give nerves of steel to those mothers and the steadiness of Your Spirit within their hearts.