This Christmas FiG is helping you to keep yourself focused upon Christ in this busy season where we celebrate our Saviour's birth. The twelfth and final day is brought to you by Geoff Lloyd from the Grace Presbyterian Church in Wyndham.
Matthew 1:21, "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
It is not surprising that angels are a key feature in most celebrations of Christmas. By my quick calculation, if we divide the number of years of history the Old Testament covers by the number of angelic appearances recorded, we get less than one every two centuries! But, as Luke records, in one year leading up to the birth of Jesus, there are three occasions when angels appear. Gabriel appeared to Zechariah (Luke 1:8-25). Then six months later, he visited Mary (Luke 1:26-38). Nine months after that, an army of angels filled the skies near Bethlehem announcing the birth of Jesus to some local shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). Three separate appearances within 15 months. That is 600 years’ worth of angelic visits in 15 months. Yet it makes perfect sense that angel visits are such a prominent part of Christmas.
What is surprising, is that many people miss the reason the angels are there. Christmas isn’t special because angels visited. Angels visited because Christmas is special. Imagine a jewel thief fills his bag with huge pieces of cut glass but leaves behind the little diamonds that are worth thousands of times more. He was so focused on what was big and shiny he missed what was small and invaluably precious.
I hope you do not make the same mistake this Christmas, cherishing the messengers and missing the message. The flaming hosts of Heaven causing fear and bringing comfort were not sent to steal the show. They were living celestial signposts to the baby in the manger. The child who is God in Human form. The infant who is the reason for the reason. The Christmas angels are a beautiful frame. The masterpiece they emphasise is God come in human form to be our representative and heal the rift between sinners and a Holy God.