We have entered our second week of Advent season. I have encouraged our church family to celebrate and recognize Advent through a time of fasting, beginning after supper on Sunday night and continuing until supper on Monday night. If you are able, we encourage you to join us in abstaining from the food that perishes and partaking of the food that endures to eternal life (cf. John 6:27). Additionally, meditate on the words of our Savior in Revelation 1:17-18, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."

I suspect that levels of fear are quite high right now. Perhaps you are afflicted by fear of what COVID might do (or is doing) to you or a loved one. Perhaps you are experiencing fear regarding the ramifications of this pandemic in other areas of life. Will life ever be the same again? Perhaps the political and social unrest is a source of tremendous concern for you today. These items among others can cause us a great deal of anxiety and fear.

However, Christ's person and promises are the eclipsing reality of these trials. "Do not fear." It is one thing for me to tell you not to fear, but it is another thing altogether for the one who conquered sin, death, and hell to prohibit fear with a command. The one who died and now lives forevermore, the one who secured the keys of Death and Hades, the one who is the first and the last, this one says to us today, "Do not fear."

The sources of our fears are real today. Christians don't ignore painful and fearful realities. On the other hand, we believe that someone greater than any fear has come. Someone greater than COVID has come. Someone greater than transitory political factions and social unrest has come. Death, sin, and all that sin brings have been soundly defeated by Christ your Savior!

Don't allow defeated enemies to occupy your attention this Advent season. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace." All of your fears will pass, but Christ lives and reigns forevermore.