Throughout history, angels have been viewed with intrigue and mystery; often being physically depicted as heavenly, androgynous beings with wings and halos. Theologians and religious historians have further solidified their righteous and celestial nature by concluding that they are divinely created and acting directly on behalf of God, while serving as protectors of man and providing the necessary human guidance required in times of extreme need.
Angels are also frequently mentioned throughout the Bible; generally being represented as spiritual intermediaries between God and man. This is most perfectly demonstrated in Luke 2:8-15, 16 & 20 in the proclaiming of Christ’s birth:
“Shepherds were present in the fields, keeping watch over their flock (sheep) by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’
“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (many additional angels) praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.’ And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’
“And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
So what should we make of this? The greatest story ever told has come to include the Christ Child, Mary and Joseph, the three wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem, and the lowly shepherds who were thought little of during this time. Yet without the angel(s) sent by God to spread the word of Christ the Savior’s amazing birth, the shepherds would likely not even have traveled to give witness to the event.
Luke 2:17-18 tells us, “And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.”
While the wise men spread word of this momentous event upon their journey home, the shepherds clearly lived in an entirely different culture; one untouched by wealth and privilege. Without them, who would have spread the good news of what they witnessed to those who shared their lot in life?
Angels were instrumental in this process and likely even watched over the shepherds along the way to Bethlehem. This was not just a chance occurrence, but a necessary part of a divine plan that began with a special child’s birth to save the world from its sin.
We live during an increasingly secular time; a period in which religion and anything associated with it is minimized, mocked and pushed aside. But long ago, an angel helped make Christmas a most special, reflective time of year. And even if it gives us only a brief moment of hope for better things to come, that’s something everyone inside our fractured culture should put stock in.
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a firstname.lastname@example.org.