The Bible is filled with many fantastic and mysterious occurrences; from Elijah’s chariot of fire to the writing on the wall in Belshazzar’s kingdom. Though, perhaps, some of the most mystifying biblical incidents include angels. Angels are not man or God, but they are wholly perfect and beautiful and have intrigued the minds of humanity since the beginning of time.
Throughout the Bible, angels act as God’s messengers. In Genesis 18, angels visit with Abraham and Sarah and inform them that, even in their old age, they will have a son. In Joshua 5, an angel appears to Joshua at Jericho bearing a mighty sword. The events that follow this encounter are epic. Angels are also known to intervene in times of trouble– angels delivered Lot and his family out of Sodom in Genesis 19 and they also rescued Peter from prison where he was sentenced to death in Acts 12. It is evident numerous times throughout the Bible, that God uses His angels to intervene in times of trouble but, most importantly, deliver divine messages that will bring about life-changing, Earth-shattering events. At Christmastime, one angelic occurrence is fresh on our minds– the birth of Jesus.
The story of Christ’s birth is preceded by an important event, as God’s plans are always intricate. This event takes place in the life of Zacharias and his wife, Elisabeth– a couple past the age of reproduction, much like Sarah and Abraham of Genesis. Zacharias was a priest, who had come into the temple to burn incense. An angel appeared next to the incense altar and said, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.” The angel continued to assert that John would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Despite their disbelief, God’s promise came into fruition and Elisabeth gave birth to a baby boy who would grow up to become John the Baptist– a wild, hairy preacher who would baptize hundreds and prepare the masses for Christ’s arrival. Six months after Zacharias and Elisabeth’s unplanned expectancy, God’s angel visited the virgin Mary, and we all know how this story goes. Gabriel prepared Mary, then Joseph for Jesus’ arrival. Even more miraculous, after Christ’s birth, shepherds witnessed thousands of angels in the sky, all worshiping the new-born Messiah.
Angels are incredible; their might and awe-inspiring appearance has caused countless to fall to their knees. When angels show up, cities burst into flames, impenetrable walls crumble and nations are born. However, it is evident that angels aren’t behind these events. They are simply a tool which God has used to communicate to humanity his larger-than-life plans. The most notable angelic occurrence revolves around God’s biggest and best plan of all– the birth of Jesus– the night when Heaven came to Earth, God in the form of man, a ransom for all of humanity. This Christmas, let us not forget why we celebrate.