God’s messengers – for that’s what the Greek word means – were certainly busy that first Christmas.
Did they have wings? Did they blow trumpets? Were they dressed in silver or gold? Did they look like the angels on your Christmas cards or in one of this year’s nativity plays?
Here is what they did:
- Matthew has an angel of the Lord appearing in a dream to reassure Joseph
- He appears to him again to warn him to escape Bethlehem for Egypt
- And again, to tell him that the coast was clear and that he could return to Israel from Egypt.
Meantime, Luke includes these:
- Before any of the appearances that Matthew talks about, an angel of the Lord (Gabriel) appears to Zechariah with news that his prayers had been answered
- The same Gabriel breaks the news to Mary that she is to be the mother of God’s Son
- It was an angel of the Lord who announced to the nearby shepherds that Christ had been born in Bethlehem
- And he was joined by a whole host of angels, praising God and announcing peace
As the opening chapter in Hebrews says, Jesus is no mere angel. None of them has been invited to sit at the right hand of God.