All day yesterday I was thinking about a post from last year, regarding “Silent Night” (click here for the post). I was thinking about angels, what they see and have seen, what they feel (surely they have emotions…we know them to be joy personified).
These creatures (they were created, and they do not get their wings every time a bell rings, contrary to popular seasonal belief 😉 ) are ancient. They have seen it all and have relayed some mighty messages (their name, angelos, means “messenger”), very often prefaced with “Fear not!” The Bible does not speak of romanticized, pudgy baby angels or even beautiful female ones. And, if you research without much effort in the scriptures, you will discover that not one of us will become an angel when we die. That’s Hollywood stuff.
We know that the angels were created with a will, because there were some who chose to rebel against God. Those remaining with Him have seen this rebellion. They have witnessed centuries of the effects of sin on this earth…this place that was once beautifully pristine. They have watched man’s rebellion, and have sometimes been sent to intervene. They have seen this:
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? ~Hebrews 10:29
No doubt they have wondered about the redemption plan from the beginning. They have breathed the atmosphere of Heaven. They live in its luxurious peace. That God would come in the form of a helpless babe, and live out His time on Earth being “despised and rejected” (Isa 53) for the sake of fallen human beings is no doubt a marvel to them.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
(1 Peter 1:10-12 ESV)
But while living in the embrace of God, they no doubt also came to see:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.~John 3:16
Because we were an object of His love, I believe they shared His heart. No doubt they were commanded to bring this message on that starry night:
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.~Luke 2:9-14
…but I can’t help but think that, although they could not understand all that this salvation would mean for mankind, they must have been thrilled to be bearers of this announcement. The turmoil, suffering, hatred, and heartache would finally have a lasting solution. No more sacrifices. Only one perfect Lamb. No more high priest. Only one Mediator. No more law. Only amazing grace. I imagine a message like this would be hard to contain! I imagine the command being issued from the throne of God, and the entire multitude of shining beings speeding down from the heavens, bursting through the clouds with unrestrained joy! This was the ultimate “shock and awe” campaign! But the desired end was not death and destruction. It was a glorious proclamation of life and deliverance. I imagine the atmosphere was positively electric!
Let’s bring some of that to our celebration this December.