Fear Not

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not….

Which is maybe a silly thing
for a creature made of wings and eyes
to say to a couple of schmoes
who were just hanging out with their sheep
until the heavens cracked open.
Who wouldn’t be afraid?
And who stops being afraid because
someone tells you?
And yet, “Fear not” is the thing
that angels say. Apparently.
An angel says it to Mary. And to Joseph.
“Fear not.” As if that would undo
the panic of the moment, let alone
all the hardship to come.
The story never says
if Mary or Joseph or the shepherds
were comforted by these fear-denying angels.
Likely not. But all of them moved forward,
did the next thing that was to be done,
which is about all you can ask.
And maybe when the word came from Herod
about smiting babies and they had to run—
maybe when all the daily terrors of life descend—
it could be good to have the angelic voices
whispering “fear not” all down the long road,
and reminding you about the tidings of great joy.

— Lynn Ungar 12/19/18