The core needs of all people are love, joy, hope and peace, but the prevailing characteristics of the world are hatred, depression, hopelessness and division. This has many people living in abject fear. Believers can be tempted to live in fear, especially in times of uncertainty–something that Joseph & Mary and Zecharias and the shepherds all faced. The Lord specifically told each of them, “do not be afraid”…and that was more than just a trite comfort. It is the reality of trusting the One Whose love casts out all fear, rather than focusing on what we don’t know and can’t control, which produces confidence, freedom and joy.