26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’

29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.gabriel-and-mary

31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’

34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’

35The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.

36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’

So many people in the New Testament apparently need to hear the words, “Do not be afraid…”

I need to hear the words “Do not be afraid…”

Even in the physically safe and enormously privileged part of the world in which I live, the scramble of my brain is capable of spinning out endless frightening stories to haunt my mind.

I fear I will not measure up. I will be discovered as the fraud I know myself to be. The challenges of life are too great. I lack the necessary resources to make the grade.

But fear is not the only reality in my life. Deeper than fear, there is, albeit at times faintly, the awareness that “the power of the Most High” does “overshadow” me. I am held. There is more to me than the endless chatter of my mind and all the fearful scenarios it can create in such abundance.

What do I fear?

What practices help me be conscious of the deep stream of “power” that sustains all of life?