“Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13).
Have you ever seen an angel?
For most of us, the answer is no. Angels are usually invisible. But now and then God pulls back the curtain and lets us see what is going on in heaven.
That’s what happened one night long ago in the fields around Bethlehem.
Suddenly the angels showed up!
If we had been there, would we have seen them? Could the sound of their voices be heard in other places, or did the angels reveal themselves only to the shepherds? We cannot fully answer these questions, but this much is certain: The angels were really there, and the shepherds really did hear them.
It is impossible to miss the supernatural element in the birth of Jesus. Angels pop up all over the Christmas story. An angel tells Mary she will give birth to Jesus. An angel tells Joseph not to worry but to take Mary as his wife. An angel warns Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt. An angel tells them when it’s safe to return to Israel. An angel announces the birth of Christ to the shepherds, and then the angelic choir serenades them.
But that’s not all. You have the mysterious star that led the Wise Men from some distant land all the way to Bethlehem to the very house where they found the baby Jesus. The Wise Men were warned not to return to Herod but to go home another way in a dream. So there you have it—angels and stars and dreams. Supernatural stuff everywhere.
We believe something amazing.
Many miracles surround Christmas—the angels, the star, the dreams, the prophecies, and most of all, the virgin birth. They are signs from heaven that we have been visited by Someone from the “other world.”
Someone from the world of light came to the world of darkness.
Someone from the eternal came to the temporary.
Someone from heaven came to live with us on earth.
It is right at this point that Christmas becomes so important to us. We are a dying race living on a dying planet. All that we see around us will someday vanish without a trace. Despite our best efforts, there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. If we are to be saved, salvation must come from somewhere else. That’s the true meaning of Christmas.
The angels bring good news of great joy, the best news the world has ever heard.
There are more miracles to come.
Our Father, as we begin this Advent journey, open our hearts so that we might believe in Jesus all over again. Amen.
Musical bonus: Let’s start the music of Advent with an acoustic version of O Come, All Ye Faithful by Lincoln Brewster.