We have been looking at key players in the Christmas story during Advent: Zechariah and Elizabeth parents of John the Baptist, Mary mother of Jesus, Joseph who became the husband of Mary and fathered Jesus, and the shepherds who were the first visitors at the birthing scene. In each of these scenarios that form the Christmas narrative angels come as messengers bringing confirmation of the unfolding events. It is easy to get distracted trying to figure out the types of angels in the Bible. Many people would like to think they will become an angel at death or that some animal is their angel guardian but we have no proof of that. What we can say is that the angels at Christmas brought messages to each participant confirming that God is not distant and uninvolved in his creation but present and active, helping unfold a future for the good of his creation.
On Christmas Eve the angels sang,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those
on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:14)”
God desires peace for us this Christmas Eve. That peace, though, comes from relationship with him. That message seems juxtaposed to the message of our world that yells for justice as we see it, that laments the inequalities of resources, and that feels helpless in the face of environmental destruction around us. The angels praise a God who is bringing about peace but not through violence and legal systems but through a baby in a manger.
So what is the message we are sharing with others tomorrow as we gather? Will we be rejoicing about gifts we received, lamenting the missing loved ones, worrying about the credit card bills that will soon appear or will we too be able:
to sing with the angels, glory to God,
bow our head in thanks for the peace that the world does not give, and feel gratitude for his favor that is not material but relational.
As many of us go to church today, may we bow our heads and thank God for the message of the angels throughout history. Amen. Blessings.