Christmas: The Angels

Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11 At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep.12 As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.

13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac.”              Genesis 28:10-13 (NLT)

I have several Nativity scenes set up around my home. Some are set down low so that children can play with them and move them around as they remember the story. I have been putting myself into the scene and considering what might have been going through the minds and hearts of those present.

Do you believe in angels? The Bible certainly has many accounts of angels. This passage from Genesis about Jacob speaks clearly to me that angels come and go from heaven and earth. They spend a great deal of their time in the presence of God. From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture tells me that angels sing their praises in worship as an ongoing, never-ending celebration.

Angels announced the Messiah’s birth, not to kings and rabbis, but to shepherds who were doing what Christ continues to do, watch over the sheep. Have you ever been camping? The stars in the sky seem so close. It is a quiet and beautiful scene – and then suddenly there is an angel! The shepherds may have all been asleep with one or two keeping an eye open for predators. The appearance must have had them rubbing their eyes in disbelief and quickly shaking their buddies awake!

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”                                              Luke 2:8-14 (NLT)

Jesus tells me in Matthew’s gospel that during The End, angels will be tasked to separate the wicked from the righteous (Matthew 13:29). He said that angels are assigned to care for children and have the direct ear of the Father (Matthew 18:9-11). Angels even attended Jesus after His fasting and temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:11) and again in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). And I am warned by the writer of Hebrews that the strangers I might ignore or consider of little consequence might, in fact, be angels that I am entertaining (Hebrews 13:2)!

A friend, who didn’t know of my own meditation going on about angels, shared yesterday that she was having a trying day and turned her radio on just as Angels Among Us began to play. She wept as she felt the care and attendance of God. I believe that is what angels do: they illuminate the Presence of God. God is always with us but sometimes God sends an angel to us who helps us to hear and see God more clearly.

Angels Among Us written by Don Goodman & Becky Hobbs, sung by Alabama

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