And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. - Luke 2:8-11
Have you ever thought about what nighttime must have been like for a New Testament shepherd? No city lights. No noisy trucks going up and down a highway. Just peace and quiet and a sky full of brilliant stars. So imagine how instantly the shepherds’ peace and serenity was invaded by the angels shining with God’s glory. Even the bravest of us would have to admit to feeling at least some fear, if not a going into a full-blown panic attack, if confronted by an angel. I love the fact that the first thing the angel said was, “Do not be afraid.” They must have known the effect they would have had on these simple shepherds.
That unsettling feeling of fear and anxiety is at seemingly epidemic proportions in our society. Some statistics say that nearly half of the people visiting emergency rooms are there because of stress and anxiety. And for some people Christmas time is one of the most stress-producing times of the year.
The heavy demands of what can seem like non-stop Christmas parties and activities at most churches can wear down anyone, especially staff members and youth workers. The constant demands on our bodies and emotions can be a virtual breeding ground for fear and panic. Overload can break you down physically and mentally.
So what’s a youth worker to do?
Stop! Take a break! Instead of DOING, just BE for a day! It is the most wonderful time of the year but it can also be the most stressful time of the year. Just like the angel calmed the fears of the shepherds, let God calm your fears.
Maybe you need to hear God saying to you:
Do not be afraid for I bring you great news. Over 2,000 years ago there was born in the city of David a savior, Christ the Lord. He lived, He loved, and then He died on a cross for you. Three days later this Christ the Lord conquered death which allowed Me to have an intimate relationship with you. Now you have my presence in the form of the Holy Spirit living in you all the time. Do not be afraid because I will never leave you or forsake you. Place all your cares and worries on Me because I care for you! Oh, and by the way, thank you for working with teenagers.