Summary: A look at the different angels present at the first Christmas
Touched by an Angel
Angels. What would Christmas be without angels? They are an integral part of Christmas, if we didn’t have angels what would we put on the top of our trees? And what would the little ones dress up as in the Christmas play; you only need so many shepherds. The Christmas story starts and ends with angels along with angels in the middle, and how could we expect anything less. It’s not everyday that God, the creator of the universe forsakes heaven and comes to earth born as a baby in a stable outside a crowded inn. For an event that was so incredible only angels could be the appropriate messengers.
Now for a little background. Although angels are mentioned over 300 times in the bible we really don’t know a lot about them, and most of what we know is tradition and myth pure speculation fuelled by what I call the Angel Cult. During recent years they have become the spiritual creature of choice. And why not, according to the angel cult angels are loving and caring, they’re cute and cuddly and make no demands on our spirituality or morality and are there for everyone.
It’s only speculation that angels have wings, wear halos and play harps. We no more know what an angel looks like then we know what an angel eats. Although Mark Twain said “When one has tasted Watermelon he knows what the angels eat.”
Nelsons Bible Dictionary ANGEL — a member of an order of heavenly beings who are superior to human beings in power and intelligence. By nature angels are spiritual beings (Heb. 1:14). Their nature is superior to human nature (Heb. 2:7), and they have superhuman power and knowledge (2 Sam. 14:17, 20; 2 Pet. 2:11). They are not, however, all-powerful and all-knowing
St. Gregory the Great sat down and tried to define different types of angels and in the end he said there were nine different orders of angels: angels, archangels, virtues, powers, principalities, dominations, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim. But in the end all we really know for sure is what the Bible tells us. And although this isn’t an exhaustive list it hits some of the highlights:
Angels carry out God’s judgment (2 Samuel 24:16–17)
Angels serve God (Psalm 103:21)
Angels praise God (Psalm 148:2)
Angels are messengers (Daniel 4:17)
Angels protect God’s people (Daniel 6:22)
Angels do not marry (Matthew 22:30)
Angels do not die (Luke 20:36)
Angels encourage Christians (Hebrews 1:14)
Angels should not be worshiped (Revelation 22:8–9)
This morning we aren’t looking at the angels who were present that first Christmas morning, instead we are going to take a look at the people those angels interacted with and their reaction.
The first response was a Response of Faith. The visit of the angel Gabriel was what began the entire story; we find it in Luke 1:26-28 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Now you know the rest of the story, the Angel tells Mary that she is going to have a child who will be the son of God, Mary tells the angel that isn’t going to happen because she isn’t married and besides that she’s still a virgin, even then the two didn’t necessarily go hand in hand. And then the angel tells her, no problem, the father will be the Holy Spirit. Now before we go on with the story I have a theory, which I’m sure you’re dying to hear. Although some of you have already heard it. I think that we mispronounce the angel’s name. I don’t think it was Gabriel I think it was Gabrielle. Think about it if you were God and you were sending an angel to talk to a teenaged virgin about reproduction would you send a male angel or a female angel. Now I know that you’re thinking that’s just dumb Denn, angels aren’t male or female they are asexual. I had that conversation with John Symonds who heads up the Pastoral Ministry at Bethany Bible College so I said “John close your eyes and picture an angel. Now is your asexual angel a boy or a girl?” But my theory really isn’t all that important because we aren’t all that interested in Gabriel or Gabrielle this morning we are interested in Mary and her response to the angel. So the angel comes tell this young virgin that she’s going to have a child and the father’s going to be the Holy Spirit. Listen to Mary’s response: Luke 1:38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” And then the angel left.