Most of you probably remember a show called Touched by an Angel that ran in the mid 90s. Roma Downey played Monica, an angel with an adorable Irish lilt in her voice. Tess, Della Reese is her sassy mentor. Together they show up in people’s lives to deliver messages of hope and help strengthen the faith of those who are struggling.
Below is a clip of the show that aired on Christmas Eve, 1994. Monica and Tess are sent to help Wayne (Randy Travis) overcome his loss of faith and resentment for having to take care of his mentally impaired, younger brother, Joey. Their parents died in a car wreck at night and Joey is now afraid of the dark. And, Joey’s friend, Serena, is dying of a fatal disease and doesn’t have long to live.
It’s Christmas Eve and the town is gathered at church for the annual Christmas pageant. Tess, of course, is pageant director and doing the best she can with what she has to work with. Serena is suppose to be the angel in the pageant but takes a turn for the worse and cannot make it. Joey has Serena’s teddy bear and Monica persuades him to take it to the Christmas Eve service so it can fly as an angel in Serena’s place. Joey works up the courage to set out into the night on his own, teddy bear in hand, and arrives at church just before it’s time for the angel to appear.
What happens next is a beautiful rendition of that night so long ago in Bethlehem. Watch and you’ll agree.
I’ve figured out why I love this episode. Aside from the obvious.
Wayne is us…beat down, resentful and disappointed by life’s circumstances. He has no joy in his life, and his faith is weak.
Joey is us…afraid of the dark and of things we cannot see or understand; afraid to trust that even through the darkness, we can find our way.
Serena is us…her fatal disease is a reminder we are mortal, and only here for a short time. But while we are here, we need to inspire the lives of as many people as we can.
The Christmas pageant, with all its rough-around-the-edges singers and actors is us too. Life is rough around the edges. And, like the singers, we are all a little off-key. We try and make the best of what we have, but we always fall short of expectations and abilities.
Christmas is our message of hope. It’s a message that hope can rise up out of the darkest of circumstances.
Fear Not was the angels message when they appeared to the shepherds. Fear Not is said many times throughout the bible. Did you realize, almost every book of the bible has passages with the word fear in it. That’s because the Enemy uses fear to destroy lives. When you fear something, you open the door for Satan to enter and destroy what’s good in your life. Fear of the unknown; of the what ifs; of failure; of rejection; of being alone. Fear paralyzes and confuses our minds. It causes us to abandon what’s right and encourages us to run away when we should stay and fight.
Two simple words..Fear Not…the message of Christmas. Fear Not can overcome the darkness; take away resentment and discouragement. Fear Nott can instill hope to our dying world.
Fear Not allows us to trust. To trust in the One who can make our rough-around-the-edges lives full of joy. Yes, they will still be imperfect…but having faith that God’s grace will repair our brokenness can overcome our fear and become a shield against forces that wish to destroy our joy.
Merry Christmas…and Fear Not!