The angel said: Fear not – Rejoice! I bring you joyful news! The old song by Andy Williams says: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” yet it is fraught with pressures unique to its season such as finance, relationships, work, presents, hospitality and family. We all want to get through Christmas unscathed and then settle down again in the New Year!
Angels and Shepherds
If we consider the nativity story, which is at the heart of Christmas, we find there is oodles of fear alongside much rejoicing. In Luke 2 we read of the angel visiting the humble shepherds and telling them not to be afraid, for in the city of David a baby will be born who will bring to all the earth great joy and peace.
At this time of writing we are expecting our second grandson and with it we have a growing sense of joy and expectation but also fear and apprehension, trusting that both mother and baby will deliver and arrive safely.
In this blog I want us to consider some indicators around fear and joy and to think about ways in which we might be able to handle them with understanding and maturity.
An indicator gives us an idea of the state or level of something that requires a specific measurement or calculation. Unfortunately, we are all very familiar with a Covid 19 test indicator that determines if we are positive or negative.
If we apply separately a Fear indicator and a Joy indicator it will enable us to estimate how much we are affected by fear and joy.
- It is important to face up to any fears that we may be feeling and experiencing. It is said, and it’s so true, that the ‘fear of fears’ are often greater than the reality of perceived fears. Identify your greatest fear, bring it into the sphere of reality and name it!
- Reach out to someone who you are able to share your fears with such as family, friends or a professional. It is cathartic to be listened to and our feelings and fears to be taken seriously. A fear shared is a fear halved!
- A strong faith in ourselves and our God can bring peace and comfort in the midst of fear and distress. Ensure that you firm up your inner self-talk so that you don’t ignore your fears or become overwhelmed by them. It is vital that we work in and through any fears ensuring that we move to a more peaceful place.
- Recognise where your source of joy comes from and cherish and nurture it. As you appreciate your source, realise afresh how it affects your sense of happiness and wellbeing. Conversely, understand the source and reasons why you may not be experiencing joy and happiness.
- Share your joy in natural and organized situations. It will amplify your inner joy and be infectious to those you spend time with.
- When certain situations in life threaten to consume you and rob you of your joy and peace, have strategies that will help you to maintain and restore your joy.
If you go online you will find a number of ‘indicators’ that speak about fear and joy. For a period of time assess what your fears might be and consider how you can implement more joy into your life. Check out the blog I wrote about Happiness and the use of a ‘happiness indicator’ that can be applied in some measure to fear and joy.
Personally, my anchor and faith in God (the Joy of the Lord is my strength) gives me a wonderful sense of joy that sits alongside feelings and experiences of fear. It builds up my inner core and provides an added basis for a quiet and exuberant joy and peace in whatever circumstances I find myself in.
If you were asked what your favourite Christmas cocktail was, what would your answer be?
A cocktail is a blend of drinks that includes sweet and sour and when it is shaken and stirred will produce its own unique taste.
Another popular cocktail is Eggnog that includes Bourbon, Rum, double cream, sugar and milk.
Fear and joy can be likened to a sour and sweet blend that when shaken and stirred will leave its own taste and experience. The angel said: Fear not – Rejoice. As we enter into this season of Christmas may we have a sweet joy in facing and overcoming our sour fears, balancing them with faith and thankfulness for all that we have and opportunities that are ours to come in 2022 and beyond.
So raise you glass and name your cocktail that combines fear and joy.
May it result in a drink that refreshes you and puts a smile upon your face and gives you a deep warmth in your heart and mind?
To finish, may you enjoy this popular carol in a place where I attended many years ago – Kings College Cambridge – While Shepherds watched their flocks by night. and a song by Johnny Mathis When a child is born.
PS We are happy to announce the safe arrival of our second grandson Sonny William, born today Friday 17 December and both mother and child are doing well.