Sermon Illustrations


Dr. Ralph Harlow tells the story getting away with his wife Marion for a few days to visit family and of walking with his wife through the woods of Ballarvale, MA as Spring was breaking forth. The path that he and Marion were on was spongy as they walked along a beautiful creek. Then from behind them, they heard muted voices and could tell that they would soon be overtaken by them. But then the sounds were not only behind them but above them. As they looked up, about ten feet over their heads, they saw 6 incredible creatures that glowed with spiritual beauty in flowing white garments and engaged in earnest conversation with one another. Their faces were perfectly clear as they were talking with one another.

Ralph and Marion stopped and stared as they passed overhead. They seemed to float past them and as they did, their voices slowly faded into the distance. Both Marion and Ralph looked at each other and then described what each saw, as if to confirm the miracle of angelic beings they had just witnessed.

That experience had a profound affect on Ralph and his wife. Once they had been skeptical about the absolute details of the birth of Christ, of the angels who had appeared to Mary and the shepherds, thinking that they were mere symbols injected into a fantasy or legend. But after this experience they were no longer skeptical but rather believe Luke records the experience told in wonder by those who had been visited by the angels.

And then he writes, "All of us, I think, hear the angels for a little while at Christmas time. We let the heavenly host come close once a year. But we reject the very possibility that what (Mary and) the shepherds saw 2000 years ago was part of the reality that presses very close every day of our lives. And yet there is no reason for us to shrink from this knowledge. Since Marion and I began to be aware of the host of heaven all about us, our lives have been filled with a wonderful hope. 'This is what you are to hold fast to yourself- the sympathy and companionship of unseen worlds....' The experience at Ballardvale added to the convictions of my faith (and) gives me not only a feeling of assurance about the future but a sense of adventure toward it too."

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