The Angels Of Christmas

The Angels Of Christmas

Have you ever considered the part that angels played in the Christmas story? Angels, you see, are more than ornaments to hang on a tree or pictures for our children to color.  Those things are reminders to us that God worked through angels to make the Christmas story a reality.

I want you to get to know four of these Christmas angels.

The Angel of ANNOUNCEMENT

We are introduced to Mary in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel.  Mary is probably a teenager—a young, ordinary girl living in a small Galilean village.  But then in the midst of Mary’s work-a-day life, an angel appears.  You can imagine how shocked and confused Mary is by this heavenly visitor.

The angel delivers a message that rocks Mary’s world: “You will be with child.”  Even more amazing, the child she will carry is destined to become the savior of the world!  The angel even tells Mary what the child’s name will be—Jesus.  For the first time in history, the savior’s name is spoken, and it comes on the lips of an angelic messenger.

“But how can this be?” Mary asks.  Yes, she is engaged to Joseph, a good and honorable man.  But she is still a virgin.  How, then, can the angel’s words be true?

The angel’s answer is mysterious.  All of this will be accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit.  The angel gives no details and Mary asks no questions.  The angel’s parting words are enough to embolden Mary’s faith and accept the truth of what he has said: “Nothing is impossible with God.”

The Angel of ASSURANCE

We pick up the story in the pages of Matthew’s gospel.  Here we begin to see things from Joseph’s point of view.  Mary, it seems, is with child, but it isn’t Joseph’s child.  What should he do?  If he makes a public fuss, Mary will not only be humiliated, but might also be charged with adultery—a capital crime under Jewish law.  But Joseph is a “righteous” man.  After careful thought, he decides that a quiet, private divorce is the answer.

As he sleeps, Joseph is visited by an angel.  “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,” he says.  This is God’s work.  The child Mary carries is not conceived by man, but by the Holy Spirit.  Again we hear the child’s name.  It’s Jesus.  It’s a name that defines exactly what this child will accomplish in his earthly work.  The angel sums it up perfectly: “He will save his people from their sins.”

The angel’s words have their desired effect.  Joseph responds with a faith-filled obedience: “He did what the angel of the Lord had commanded.”  Taking Mary home, he waits for God to fulfill His promise.

The Angel of ADORATION

With a stroke of Caesar’s pen, every able-bodied man in the empire must return to his hometown.  Little does the emperor know that God Himself is working behind the scenes to insure that each and every prophecy concerning the coming of the savior will be fulfilled.

Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem under difficult circumstances.  Crowds await them when they arrive and every inn is filled to capacity.  The only space available to them is a stable, dimly lit and filled with livestock.  In these humble surroundings, Mary gives birth to the promised one.

This news can’t be kept quiet.  God wants to broadcast this holy event to the world.  But who does He choose to receive this glorious announcement?  Is it the king in his palace?  Or the priests in their temple?  No, it’s a band of shepherds huddled together on a hillside fighting off the cold night air.

Once again, God dispatches an angel.  Bathed in light, he shares the good news—the savior is born!  Then he gives the shepherds a sign to follow. The child will be wrapped in strips of cloth with a feeding trough for a bed.

But there’s more.  This message is deserving of heavenly praise!  The angel is joined by countless others who lift their voices in a hymn of adoration: “Glory to God in the highest!”

In this part of the Christmas story, we see a whole string of firsts.  By sharing their news, the angels become the first ones to proclaim the gospel message.  Then they begin to sing.  Why is this a first?  It’s actually the world’s first gospel song.  When the angels depart, the shepherds follow the sign they’ve been given and locate the child.  Then they “spread the word” concerning the savior, becoming the world’s first missionaries.

The Angel of ASSISTANCE

It’s tempting to end the story with the angels and the shepherds.  But there’s one more angel to step onto the stage.  Magi from the east make the long journey to the holy land searching for the savior.  When King Herod learns of their visit, he fears that the child might be a threat to his throne.  In desperation, he concocts a plan to put the child to death.

God, of course, knows the mad king’s heart.  He sends an angel to Joseph with a warning and a command.  The angel appears in a dream, warning Joseph that King Herod “is going to search for the child to kill him.”  But there is no reason to fear.  God has a plan to protect His promised one.  “Get up,” the angel tells him, “and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you.”

And how does Joseph respond to the angel’s words?  With complete obedience: “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.”  It was through the voice of an angel that God kept the Christ-child safe from harm.

What’s the takeaway from all of this?

Every Christmas we’re reminded that God speaks.  How does He speak?  In the Christmas story, He speaks through his angelic messengers.  Today He speaks through His word.  Are we listening? 

And what’s our response to what God says?  Like Mary and Joseph, we should let His word fuel our faith.  Then we can respond with obedience.  That’s what God is looking for in His people—an obedient faith.

My prayer is that the angels of the Christmas story will help you to hear what God is saying and give you an obedient faith of your own.

God bless you!


Have you ever considered the part that angels played in the Christmas story? Angels, you see, are more than ornaments to hang on a tree or pictures for our children to color. Those things are reminders to us that God worked through angels to make the Christmas story a reality. I want you to get to know four of these Christmas angels.