What are your first thoughts when you hear the word, “angel?” The word alone has so many connotations. It stirs the mind into thinking of something supernatural – something ethereal – beautiful – terrorizing – fearful yet comforting. My thoughts go to my personal guardian angel, who has to have earned his/her wings at least a thousand times over. I also am reminded of the many angels among us – people who look and seem just like us – who have had a powerful impact on our lives – an intervention, so to speak.
The angels of the Bible are referred to as messengers, warriors, helpers, guides and helpers through the difficult times of life, but can you imagine actually meeting one – face to face? It must’ve been frightening for Mary to stand before the angel, Gabriel, as he transmitted the message of her miraculous birth to come. Joseph had misgivings about marrying Mary because of her supposed indescretions, but the angel showed up to assure him that this was all part of God’s divine plan for salvation. When the angels came en masse to the shepherds in the fields, what do you suppose those lowly herders thought? They had to be frightened. They’d heard the promise of a Messiah for years. Why were they frightened when they knew this was coming? I think I would be.
The angels were more than busy during that very first Christmas. They continue to act in our lives, mostly unaware to us. They aren’t all cute, little cherubs like the ones you see on glittery Christmas cards. We never know for sure when we’re meeting up with one, but I am confident that they exist.
As we get nearer the celebration of birthday of Jesus, take time to meditate on the glory that was being exhibited by God during that time. Jesus didn’t come as a warrior king. He wasn’t born into wealth or prosperity. He was just a little boy – but He was also true God. How could that even be possible? How could any of this make any sense? We have no idea what God is capable of. He can take the least extraordinary and turn it into to most amazing with just one word. On that holy night, when Jesus’ birth was being announced by angels, miracles were occurring right and left. He came in deep humility, but he was being escorted by God’s entire army.
There are still angels among us. I’m sure of it. They come at the most unexpected times, in our greatest need and often at our lowest point. They know how to praise God. We can learn a lot from them.