Letting Angels' Awe Guide Us
December 25, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
You’ve heard it all before, haven’t you? The Christmas story… the baby in a manger, shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, angels singing, wise men traveling from the east, etc. The danger of familiarity is losing our sense of awe over the significance of such events.
Let’s let the angels reinvigorate our sense of wonder and awe for the birth of Christ, the Lord.
We cannot be certain if Gabriel was one of the angels who appeared to the shepherds, but he did announce the births of John and Jesus to Zechariah and Mary in Luke 1. Notice what Gabriel says about himself to Zechariah, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news” (Lk. 1:19).
Unlike you and me, the angels have access to stand in the presence of God. Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” If angels have the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore in the presence of God, what leads them to celebrate the birth of Christ with such joy and the “longing to look” into these things of salvation?
The angels have a clear understanding of the significance of the birth of Christ. The more we understand this significance, the more our joy will abound and our sense of awe will not diminish.
1. The angels longed to see the Glory of the Kingdom of God reestablished on earth. Jesus is the promised child to bring this eternal kingdom of peace and justice and righteousness.
2. The angels groan with creation, longing for the final restoration of all things. The work of Jesus was to conquer sin, death, and Satan and so reverse the curse of the Fall. The birth of Christ marks the beginning of God making all things new again.
3. The angels are only spectators of the greatest act of mercy: Christ’s salvific act on the cross, and yet they “long to look into these things.” The writer to the Hebrews says, “It is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham” (2:16). As much as the angels understand of the significance of the birth of Christ, they do not experience the richness of kindness and mercy God demonstrates in Christ like we do. If the angels found great joy “looking into” such a great salvation, shouldn’t we, who personally experience the salvation of our souls, be filled with awe and wonder at the birth of Christ?
May we never grow tired of hearing the great story of God’s rescue of mankind through the gift of his Son.