My to-do list was yards long, and I’d already called the store twice to beg them to help me meet my deadline. “Fear not,” I told myself, as I unbuckled my seatbelt and made my way to the door of the print shop.
Inside it was easy to see why I’d needed to call. Two overwhelmed employees were racing to appease a long line of customers.
I watched a young woman answer the ringing telephone, apologize to whoever was on the other line, and I prayed another silent “Fear not” for her. She was poised and polite, despite obvious frustration. She turned to a woman waiting on an order of postcards. “My cutting machine is broken. I have to cut these by hand. It will take a while,” she said.
“It’s OK,” the woman responded patiently. “I’ll cut them at home.” Fear not, the woman implied. I understand.
Both sides of the counter
We’ve all been on both sides of the counter–especially at Christmas. Whether we’re holiday shopping for loved ones, preparing meals, or otherwise doing our best to make the season special, fears and frustrations abound.
Some fears are small: Will our loved ones like the gifts we’ve bought? Will we run out of mashed potatoes? Others are larger: fear of a diagnosis, fear of conflict, fear of being alone.
And if we need hope, there is good news: It’s coming. “Fear not,” the angels tell us.
Hope abounded in the copy store that day. Despite plenty of reasons to be frustrated, the patrons were kind. The employees were patient and helpful.
I had almost reached the front of the line when I noticed Christ’s presence again. A woman to my left was waiting to use the copier. Her pregnant belly was round and heavy, and she was wiping away tears. Suddenly customers began to surround her, rubbing her back, whispering encouragement. On the counter in front of her was a homemade sign that read “Missing” and several photos of a teenage girl.
The promise of Christmas is not that scary things won’t happen. The promise is that a Savior is coming who will teach us to be light unto one another.
“Fear not,” the Christmas story tells us. There is much to fear, but you are not alone.
Sarah Carson is an associate editor of Gather magazine. This article first ran in the December 2018 issue of the magazine. Subscribe to Gather magazine (or give a gift subscription) for inspirational and transformative articles.