“Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,”
So this isn’t an official angel.
This is hubby, caught masquerading as one.
But angels figure largely in the Christmas story. One appeared to Zechariah, who became John the Baptist’s father. A few months later, one appeared to Mary to announce that she was about to become pregnant.
Then Joseph needed a message, and you guessed it – another angel was dispatched to deliver it.
The night Jesus was born, a whole ‘host’ appeared in the skies – think of it as a massive baby announcement.
Each time, the folks who saw these heavenly messengers were described as being afraid.
These were no chubby gold-haloed cherubs.
These were strong warrior-messengers. In other Biblical accounts, angels are characterized as glowing, or being brightly lit. The book of Daniel speaks of a man with brilliant robes and a gold sash around his chest.
No harp plucking, doe-eyed maidens with pretty blond hair sweetly harmonizing in dulcet tones.
Shepherds, who would have been accustomed to protecting their flocks from invaders of both animal and human ancestry, were reportedly ‘terrified’. These were no tenderfoot wet behind the ears white collar workers – they were of the rough and tumble, keep-your-knife-sharp-and-know-how-to-use-it sort.
But seeing a whole posse of angels delivering a birth announcement got their teeth to chatter, and not from the cold.
What’s with all the angels?
Angels are messenger beings. And the birth of the King of Kings was of great enough import to cause a mass appearing to humans, to make sure they got the message loud and clear.
Our culture has watered down angels. Made them less powerful, less other-worldly.
Just as we have watered down the baby in the manger. Made Him cute and cuddly and left His power and authority in the dust of Christmas past.
To keep things in perspective – yes, there are angels among us. But they exist to serve the living God. They give us a fascinating glimpse into the realities of heaven. And they underline the uniqueness of this Christmas baby.
See the angels of Christmas with new eyes with me?
Father, we love stories of Your heavenly messenger beings! Teach us how to put them into the right perspective and see them with balanced vision – neither treating them disrespectfully, nor attributing them with any characteristics that only belong to You. Thank you for the angels of Christmas! Amen.