December 21, 2012
The Night the Angels Spoke
By Skip Heitzig
As a child, Christmas Eve was the one night of the year when I just couldn’t sleep. I would lie with eyes wide open, wondering what presents I’d find under the tree the next morning. And in my imagination, I’d listen for the sounds of a sleigh and the echo of “Ho, ho, ho!” But that’s only a fable built around a long-dead man from Turkey named Nicholas, a devout Christian known for his generosity to those in need and his love for children.
As an adult, I still lie awake on that holy night. But now I think of the true story of Christmas. I think how the night that Jesus Christ was born was different from any other night in history. My mind’s eye sees the shepherds watching their flocks by night in the hills surrounding Bethlehem. I try to imagine the astonishment of those simple men the night the angels spoke:
“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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:8-11).
The word “angel” means messenger, and it refers to a special class of beings. Their purpose is to praise God in heaven and to do His bidding here on earth. They are invisible most of the time, except for certain occasions when God allows them to be seen by man. On the first Christmas Eve, God sent them with the joyous message that Jesus Christ was born.
Isn’t it amazing that the glorious news the angels came to proclaim was not brought to kings and dignitaries but to lowly shepherds…members of the lowest social group? But God sent the angels to speak to these men, and when they heard the message they instantly responded to it and then proclaimed it to others. Scripture tells us “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” (vv. 16-17).
The glorious news from the angels is the message proclaimed throughout the Bible: ”There is born to you…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (v. 11). It doesn’t matter where you fit on society’s social scale. It doesn’t matter whether you live in the city or the country. The message of Christmas resonates through time. Have you heard the angels speak? They’re telling you of the Savior who was born, Christ the Lord. Won’t you follow the shepherds’ example by making haste to find Him? Won’t you share this Good News with everyone in your path?
May you have a wondrous and holy Christmas!
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