The Angels of Jesus’ Birth
As we will soon begin Advent (December 1) we are
Angels are see throughout the Bible and are called by a variety of names including cherubim, seraphim and living creatures. Sometimes they are described as men, often in bright garments. They appear guarding Eden, waging war, rescuing Peter from prison, worshiping God and even rebelling against God. They are mysterious servants of God who serve as messengers. They warned people of Sodom and Gorrah; rescued those who are faithful Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and they often instructed people as to what to do next. One key role is that they share messages from heaven to earth and this is why they play such a pivotal role in the story of Jesus’ birth.
The Christmas story is filled with angels including the archangel Gabriel. Gabriel’s message to those key individuals who served God was simply that it was time for the Messiah to arrive. Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth are told that they would have a child in their older age. This boy would fulfill Malachi’s prophecy from God that He would send an Elijah0like figure who would prepare the way for the Redeemer. But when Zechariah understood the physical realities he and his wife would experience, he questioned all of this. And so Gabriel told him that he would be mute until the child, who was to be named John was born. This occurred and John became John the Baptist who came to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
As we prepare our way for the celebration of Jesus’ birth are we questioning why we put so much effort into the holiday? Are we questioning the rationale for the expense, for the time and energy? Zechariah questioned the angel and he was unable to speak until John was born do we question the season or are we grateful that people do care and give for the sake of others?
What is it we are questioning about Advent and Christ’s birth? How will we find answers? Asking questions of others is not a wasted effort, but only a better way to understand who we are in relationship with others and with God. As we enter in Advent ask yourself what is most important for this celebration for you and your family? What is not needed or desired? And also ask how and when you will hear the Jesus’ birth story? When will you hear that the infant Jesus was placed in a manger? Remember Gabriel and Zechariah and ask the questions of faith which you have- pray and seek answers- be open to receiving God’s answer!
PRAYER: Holy God show us what it means to prepare and welcome Christ in our midst as an infant. You call us to excitement for the season but we ask that you would help us to question what is best for us to know you and grow in our understanding of Jesus in the manger. We ask this in faith and with hope. Amen.
Inspired by Bill Crowder, “Windows on Christmas: Biblical Perspectives on the Birth of Jesus” Our Daily Bred Ministries, 2019