Christ came down to earth from heaven, born for us on Christmas Day.
On a side table in our sitting room is a small host of Angels. The Angels were presents given to me when I was ordained, first as a Deacon and then as a priest. These angels are beautiful, all different but each one a reminder of God’s messengers. Angels, heavenly beings created by God. Cherubim and Seraphim. The word “an.gel.os” (angel) comes from a basic word that means “message- bearer”. An angel is a messenger from God.
In the Bible only two angels are specifically named: the archangel Michael who is mentioned in Jude 9, Revelation and Daniel, and the angel Gabriel whom we find mentioned in the book of Daniel and who comes from God to speak to Daniel. The angel Gabriel is God’s messenger in the incarnation story; it is Gabriel who tells Zechariah “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you good news (Luke 1:19). Gabriel prepares Zechariah for the birth of his son, John, to his wife Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin.
It is Gabriel who was sent by God to Mary to tell her of God’s favour upon her. Mary received God’s message and reassurance, and accepted God’s message, ‘Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’ (Luke 1.38). In Matthew 1 Joseph, described as a righteous man and unwilling to expose Mary to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, giving him God’s message: this baby will save God’s people from their sins. Joseph did as the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.
And so God’s plan for the world was put into place, aided by his angels. Mary’s baby, the Christ child, was born in Bethlehem and was called Jesus, the name given by God, told by the angel. It was an Angel (thought to be Gabriel) who visited the shepherds in a blaze of God’s glory, the light of God’s presence and power, accompanied by the Heavenly Host praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven’ (Luke 2. 14). To the least of earth’s inhabitants, the shepherds, the poorest of God’s people, to them first came the sound of the Christmas angel, a song of Good News.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor,
To bind up the broken hearted
To proclaim freedom for captives and release darkness for the prisoners
To comfort all who mourn
And provide for those who grieve in Zion
(from Isaiah 61:1-3. Luke 4. 16-21)
The sound of the Christmas Angel was a chorus of Good News, and what good advice for us all.
What is the meaning of the Good News of the Christmas Angel? Is there a difference this Good News will make in our lives?
The good news spoken by the Christmas angel means that God has heard the cries of the world. God has heard, and He has given, and because of that we can find meaning and hope, and our lives can be filled with peace and assurance. No matter what crisis we face, Jesus Christ born long ago, God who became man and lived and died among us, knows us and how to meet our needs.
Mary said yes to the Angel, Mary said yes to God.
May we all say yes to God and make space to stop, to pray and listen and hear the Angels sing this Christmas tide. The sound of the Christmas Angel was not just Good News; it was the very best of News this world has ever heard. Out of love God came down to earth from heaven, born for us on Christmas Day.
May God bless you this Christmastide.