"Fear descended." —Luke 1:65
"Fear descended on all in the neighborhood" because of the miraculous events surrounding the birth of John the Baptizer. How much more so will the fear of the Lord come upon us when we celebrate Jesus' birth this Christmas! "Who will endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?" (Mal 3:2)
When the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church, "a reverent fear overtook them all, for many wonders and signs were performed by the apostles" (Acts 2:43). If fear overtook them all when the Church, the body of Christ, was born, how much more so will the fear of the Lord overtake us when we celebrate the birthday of Christ, the Head of the body! (Eph 1:22-23)
At Christmas, we have reason to fear the Lord. This awe in God's presence is a most important gift of the Holy Spirit (Is 11:2). At our Confirmation, we were prayed for specifically to receive this gift. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10). "Fear of the Lord is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown. Fear of the Lord warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days. He who fears the Lord will have a happy end; even on the day of his death he will be blessed" (Sir 1:9-11; see also Ps 128:1). "Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts and humble themselves before Him" (Sir 2:17). We are called to make "steady progress in the fear of the Lord" (Acts 9:31), for the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of wisdom but also of Christmas.
Prayer: Father, this Christmas may my delight be the fear of the Lord (Is 11:3).
Promise: "What will this child be?" —Lk 1:66
Praise: "O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."
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Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009
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