How The Angels Saw It
17 Dec 2018
The Christmas story has plenty of angels in it. They’re not the main characters, yet they are right there in the middle of things, playing a supporting role. Powerful, faithful servants of God. What were they thinking, these ancient created beings, as they watched the nativity story unfold?
They knew the history of the human race up to that point. They had seen it. Creation, and God’s love for these people that he created, made in his own image. The angels saw humanities first sin, the first human child, the first murder, our defiant rebellion against God, the flood, the call of Abram and the beginning of the Jewish nation. And through it all, a running theme … a promise of redemption, prophesies of a coming Messiah.
Although the angels knew about mankind, they knew more about God himself. Angels serve God and take their orders directly from him. They worship God right inside his throne room. They understand far better than we do God’s perfection, his authority, his power and his immeasurable love.
When the angel Gabriel surprised young Mary with the unbelievable news that she was pregnant, what did he see? A young woman, afraid and bewildered. Did he wonder whether this human female would be up to the great responsibility of caring for the son of God? And what of Joseph? An honourable man, but could he protect Jesus through his early childhood years? What kind of father would Joseph be to the boy Jesus, the teenage Jesus? How these angels must have wondered about God’s rescue plan. So much room for human error!
It’s important to remember that on that first Christmas morning the angels already knew Jesus. They knew Jesus as their God. Jesus in his eternal state, ruling over all creation as part of the three-in-one creator. The angels had been serving Jesus in all his glory for thousands and thousands of years. They understood how ludicrous this point in human history was: that God was being born as a human baby.
And yet, they knew God’s plans to be always true and sure, always being outworked to perfect completion.
Some shepherds were camping on a hill outside of Bethlehem the day that Jesus was born. An angel appeared to them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognise him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
That angel knew just how momentous this was. You can almost hear his excitement as he proclaimed that the Messiah humanity had been waiting for had come. What an incredible gift we were given on Christmas day.
In 2018, we sing the carol based on the angels’ words: Joy to the world, the Lord is come. A message for all the people of the earth. Sing it, shout it, share it.