This Annunciation is one of my favorite pieces of art. Painted between 1433-34 by Fra Angelico, it hangs in the Diocesan Museum in Cortona, Italy. I have had the gift of visiting Cortona several times, and I love to stand in front of this painting, viewing the scene taken from the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38). The strikingly beautiful Gabriel has a message for Mary. Before he makes the announcement, the most important ever made, he has a more simple message. "Do not be afraid."
In fact, throughout Scripture, any time an angel appears, the first words spoken almost always include a gentle reminder to have no fear. And yet, in our humanness, we seem to always be afraid of something. Today, more than ever, fear seems to be a prevalent force in our culture. Yes, there is much to be apprehensive about.
But the simple message of the angels is a gentle reminder for those who have a relationship with God. We have nothing to fear. No matter what we are confronted with, we can trust that God has a plan, that He's working through the situation, that everything is under control.
Of course, this doesn't mean that we should just roll over and play dead, passively moving through life.
No, God wants us to do our part, to be faithful to Him and do whatever it takes to show the whole world what it means to be Christian. Some days we'll do well. Other days, we'll fail. The key is to keep trying. Everything is in His hands.
Just remember folks, there are still many things to rejoice about. First off, we were blessed to see another day. Most of us had food, shelter, clothing. In fact, we probably wanted for nothing. We could come and go as we pleased, do whatever we chose to. Not everyone is so lucky. We've got it pretty good compared to others. Before your head hits the pillow tonight, be sure to thank God for the many blessings that came your way today.
You may not have had an angel appear to you today, but you were gently reminded nonetheless that you have nothing to fear.