Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Voice of the Angels

I like reading the Christmas story in the Bible. And while the focus is and should be on the birth of Christ, I am always a bit in awe when I read about the angels who appeared to Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and finally to the shepherds.

I don't know if it is the same angel appearing to each. But the angel that appeared to Zacharias (to announce the birth of John the Baptist) and to Mary is Gabriel. There are only four verses in the Bible that mention the name of the angel Gabriel. Two in Daniel (Dan. 8:16 and 9:21). And two in Luke.

In Luke 1:19 Gabriel speaks to Zacharias and said, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news."

I don't know about you, but I am a bit in awe of those words, "stands in the presence of God". It would seem to me that if I were in the presence of God I most assuredly would be flat on my face. But this Gabriel stands! This must be one special angel, an important angel. And he was sent to speak to those who would first experience the Christ.

It would seem to me that things must have been abuzz in heaven at this point! Gabriel was announcing to key players on earth that the Son of God, The One Who Created All Things (John 1:1-5) was going to leave heaven to enter into mankind and become one of us (John 1:14). The promised Messiah that the prophets had watched and waited for over the centuries and centuries was now coming into His own creation to undo what Satan had done (1 John 3:8 ...last part of the verse).

We know that the angels have watched the history of man and we know that they long to see the redemption completed to its end (1 Peter 1:12 - last half of the verse). It was a long time waiting. And then! Gabriel, the angel who stands in the presence of God, is sent! To bring good news of great joy (Luke 2:10-14). Ahhh, the Focus IS on Christ!

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