Christmas Angels

From Rev. John Odhner, Assistant to the Pastor
December 17, 2018

The Lord’s birth was a time when angels drew near the earth with messages of hope, joy and peace. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid…” (Matthew 1:20) “Arise, take the young Child and His mother…” (Matthew 2:13, 20) “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard…. And you will have joy and gladness…” (Luke 1:13-14) “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30) “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…” (Luke 2:10) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

“Behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them…. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host….” The angels appeared to the shepherds suddenly. There is no description here of them flying or walking from a distance. This is because the angels were already with the shepherds before they appeared. What actually happened was that the shepherds’ spiritual eyes were opened so that they could see first one angel and then a whole multitude. Afterwards it says that the angels “went away into heaven.” It may have appeared to the shepherds that they flew up into the sky, or perhaps they simply disappeared as suddenly as they appeared when the shepherds’ spiritual eyes were closed.

The reality, though, was that the angels did not go away from the shepherds. Angels are always close to us. “Unless spirits and angels are present with us, … we cannot have life for even a single moment.” (Secrets of Heaven 10219.2) Angels from the Lord lead and protect us every instant and fraction of an instant (Secrets of Heaven 5992). If we lead a good life, angels are close by us, and the instant we begin to have bad thoughts, they raise us up to a deeper level (Secrets of Heaven 6315).

The influence of angels is especially upon our conscience (Secrets of Heaven 6207). Evil spirits make accusations and torment our conscience, but angels still protect us; that is, the Lord does so through the angels, preserving in us a sense of hope and trust (Secrets of Heaven 6097).

Angels are present with us in our ends or goals. When our goal is to love the Lord and our neighbor the way angels do, then “angels are delighted with us and join themselves to us like a brother or sister.” (Secrets of Heaven 3796)

It is unlikely that we will see angels this Christmas the way the shepherds did, but there is no doubt, if we are paying attention, that we will hear angels speaking in the voice of our conscience, feel their presence in acts of compassion, and share their joy when we feel the joy of another as if it were our own.

 


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