Advent ... Angels

Today marks the beginning of Advent: the season when we remember Christ's coming. As someone who has not been a huge fan of Christmas and its trappings I've decided to spend the time from now until Christmas exploring the meaning of the season. Not the spirit of the season or the commercialism of the season but the true meaning of Christmas.

And what better way to do it than in a series of alphabet posts? (And you thought I'd done with ABCs! Actually there are probably better ways to do it but this is how I'm doing it).

So A is for Advent but it's also for Angels. And angels play a huge part in the Christmas story. It was the angel Gabriel who visited Zacharias and told him that his wife Elizabeth was to have a child - a child who would become known as John the Baptist; Gabriel also visited Mary and told her what must have seemed inconceivable - that a virgin was to be with child - and that she had been chosen above all women; Joseph, betrothed to Mary, was told by an angel in a dream that he need not fear taking Mary as his wife; and on the night of Jesus' birth the shepherds were visited by a whole host of angels.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marvelled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
(Luke 2:8-20, NKJV)

I'm not surprised the shepherds were afraid. I suspect I would have been also. But what wondrous news they heard! And what a wondrous response!

I wonder how we will respond this Christmas? Will it be with praise and wonder and a desire to share the wonderful news, or will we not even care or acknowledge who He is and what He has done? Will we hasten to spend time with Him and to worship at His feet or will we be too busy to even pause and reflect that God came down to redeem mankind to Himself? Will we give Him all that we have ... or will we ignore Him?

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