Summary: Angels were the primary messengers of that first Christmas. The Star of Bethlehem was their only competitor, and it reached only the wise men. All others were reached by angels.
Before the turn of the century, a Bishop was paying his annual visit to a church related
college. He was the guest of one of the professors, and was stating to his host, that now since
man knows all about nature, and all inventions have been discovered, we must be on the verge
of the millennium. The professor disagreed. He felt that the next fifty years would lead to
many more discoveries and inventions. He suggested that men would probably be flying like
the birds. The Bishop said, "Nonsense, flight is reserved for the angels." That Bishop's name
was Wright, and little did he ever suspect that his two sons, Orville and Wilbur, would be the
ones to prove him wrong by successfully flying in an airplane. Wright was wrong about flight
being reserved for the angels. Man has advanced so far in this field, he now even hopes to
compete with angels in interplanetary travel.
In whatever angels are successful, man is not far behind. Angels were the first to praise
God for the glories of His creation, but devout men, like the Psalmist, soon joined in the
universal chorus-the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showth His
handiwork. Angels were the first to announce the birth of Christ, and sing of the glorious
good news of Christmas. But man too, was soon filled with the music of this miracle. Martin
Luther expressed it for millions-
My heart for very joy doth leap
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient cradle song.
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given.
While angels sing, with pious mirth,
A glad New Year to all the earth.
Man cannot refrain from joining the angels in praise to God.
Angels are the intelligent beings that break through the barrier between time and eternity,
the visible and invisible, and speak of wonders, and blaze trails for men to follow in God's
providence. Angels play a major role in God's plan. Angels are mentioned 15 times in the
first two chapters of Luke. Though they are common in Scripture, many people do not take
them very seriously. The average Christian would not deny their reality, but it would really
make no practical difference to them if such beings did not exist.
The paradox is, the secular world and scientist seem to have more interest in the invisible
world than many Christians. Arthur Clarke tells of how radio telescopes are being used to
pick up impulses coming from interstellar space. Man hopes to discover intelligent life in the
universe. He writes, "We can be certain that these vast instruments will bring us nearer to a
true understanding of our universe; and we can hope that, one day, they will tell us we are not
alone in its immensity." What a paradox-here is a man of science fascinated by the search for
intelligent beings, and here we are as Christians with a record of such beings communicating
with man on that first Christmas. If we believe the Word of God, we already know we are not
alone in the universe.
Mortimer J. Adler, chairman of the Board of Editors of The Encyclopedia Britannica,
wrote the book, The Angels And Us. He also helped edit the Great Books Of The Western
World, which is the greatest collection on earth of the 102 great ideas that have shaped the
history of our civilization. The first idea dealt with is, angels. Dr. Adler is no theologian, but
everywhere he goes to lecture on angels, he draws large crowds. Why would the secular world
be so interested in angels? It is because their reality would give man hope that life has
meaning and purpose. Man longs to know he is not a freak accident of nature and a product
of mere chance. That is what the search for intelligent life in space is all about. Earth is the
hottest broadcasting body in the universe. Man is sending out radio and television signals
from around the world in hopes that they will be picked up on some other galaxy and bring
forth a response. Man longs to know he is not alone in this universe.
Adler argues that angels are a logical necessity. They would complete what is otherwise an
incomplete universe. If man goes downward, he encounters the animal world, but if he cannot
go upward and encounter the angelic world, something is missing and the universe is
incomplete. God has created creatures for every environment below man and it is logical that
He would create creatures for every environment above man. There is body without mind.
There is body with mind. If there is no mind without body between man and God, God has left