An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." from the first chapter of Matthew.Then when the women were racing to spread the news they ran into Jesus himself, who said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." from the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew.
One of the reasons we should not be afraid is that, after commanding us to go out and make disciples, Jesus assures us, "[S]urely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." He will be with us, he will really be with us. As the hymn goes, "You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart." And for me, the step that requires me to remember the admonition to not be afraid, is to recognize that while I have never walked with the man born to Mary 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ lives, really. Regardless of the state of his body he lives on in me. And that is more than a platitude. It is more than saying I remember him, or know about him. It is something fearful, particularly for those who loved the man while he walked on the earth, to think of him going forward in a new form. But, in accepting it our hearts our opened.
Today, my heart is full of joy because today I am not afraid.