There is a powerful and malevolent force that is sweeping through our lives taking away our freedom, our morality, justice, happiness and peace. It whips into our homes like an icy wind sucking away the warmth of joy. It is fear. Right now, somewhere in this world a person is contemplating ending their own life. Right now, somewhere in this city, a person contemplates leaving everything—home, family—in the dead of night to start over somewhere else. And perhaps even in our own midst there is a person whose life is spent dodging one fearsome event after another.

Fear is a gripping and choking power. It causes people to find relief in what is temporary, to find escape if only for a moment, to envy the paper-thin happiness of others. Fear makes us put on a happy exterior, even though our souls are crushed. Fear is a cruel master who forces us to only look inside, to only look to ourselves, to isolate ourselves, in short, to worship ourselves. And it is a cruel and unhappy worship. It is a worship whose hymns are strains of guilt and remorse, a worship of self-pity. It is an idolatrous and godless worship that never delivers the happiness and peace we crave, but only the damned eternity reserved for those whose faith is smothered by fear.

Our hearts crave something better. Our hearts crave eternal relief. Our hearts crave joy. Not the external joy of unbelief’s so-called happy people. Our hearts crave joy that goes beyond the smile and down to the soul. Our hearts crave the kind of joy that causes a sister who mourns the death of her brother to hold her head up high in hope. We crave the kind of joy that causes a family in the midst of disaster to move beyond the loss and difficulty.

And this joy is not far away, it is not something we must come up with on our own, it is the free gift from God, given to us in his Anointed One. Fear can be done with in your life. Its choke-hold can be broken by the joy-gift of God. Fear gives way, it must, because the Lord’s Anointed was sent to destroy fear’s source and to replace fear with his presence. Now is the time for joy. Now is the time for singing. Now is the time to shout aloud. Sing, shout aloud, be glad and rejoice, sin is gone, your Lord is near.

Zephaniah 3:14-15, "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm."