A Tradition-ful Advent:


A Little History:

Like we talked about with The Star, it’s not hard to figure out why we see so many angels at Christmas time, they play a big roll in the Christmas story told in the Bible.  The word, “Angel” is derived from the Hebrew and Greek words which simply means “messenger”.  It’s a fitting name for them in the Christmas story, as they appear throughout it to deliver the message that the Messiah is here!  First, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary proclaiming the news she would be the mother of the Messiah.  An angel also appeared to Joseph to prepare him for Jesus’ arrival.  Later, angels appeared to the shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth.
This isn’t the only time we see angels in the Bible though.  Often time we think of angels as we see them in artwork – delicate, dressed in white, with a soft glow or halo, gentle and singing sweetly.  However, the more you read about them in the Bible, the more you may find a much different image come to mind.  We find angels throughout the Bible in various roles too.  To name a few:
  • Messengers as we talked about in the Christmas story and throughout the Bible
  • Worship and giving praise to God  (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4-5)
  • Guiding—Angels gave instructions to Joseph about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1-2), to the women at the tomb, to Philip (Acts 8:26), and to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8).
  • Providing—God has used angels to provide physical needs such as food for Hagar (Genesis 21:17-20), Elijah (1 Kings 19:6), and Christ after His temptation (Matthew 4:11).
  • Protecting—Keeping God’s people out of physical danger, as in the cases of Daniel and the lions.
  • Delivering—Getting God’s people out of danger once they’re in it. Angels released the apostles from prison in Acts 5, and repeated the process for Peter in Acts 12.
  • Warriors —Angels are sometimes used by God to fight battles (2 Kings 6:17 is one example I love to think about!)
The Bible says that the Angels were singing at the creation of the world. The New Testament says that the Angels in heaven rejoice when people on earth are sorry for their sins!  Perhaps the most unexpected reference is Hebrews 13:2, where it says “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”  You see, the angels aren’t just a part of the Christmas Story, they are a part of God’s creation and plan from the beginning of time for all eternity.
The Connection:

When we read about angels and see them represented around us, it’s a beautiful reminder of the REAL world we live in, the spiritual world we do not yet see, but is as real as you and I.  It’s a glimpse and reminder of the bigger picture.  God the creator, all powerful, worthy of endless praise and worship who can hold the world in the palm of his hand and can count the hairs on your head.

In the Christmas story, God used the angels to proclaim Jesus had come to earth. However, as told in Matthew 28, before Jesus ascended back to the Father in Heaven, He gave us instruction through the great commission to go to all nations and proclaim His name.  He passed the job of the angels on to us!  So every time we see an angel this Christmas, we can remember that it’s now up to us to proclaim Jesus’ birth to the world!

Verse(s) to Remember:

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone ‘round about them: and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11

Ideas to Make it Stick:

  • Sing “Hark the Harold Angels Sing” together
  • Watch It’s a Wonderful Life and talk about the correlation between “every time a bell rings, an angel get’s his wings” and “every time a soul repents, an angel sings for joy”.
  • Play a game to see who can think of the most times angels appeared in the Bible. Whoever can list the most without repeating someone else wins!
  • Be an “angel” to someone else: Challenge your “little angels” to perform a random act of kindness for a someone else without getting caught and talk about what it means to show hospitality to strangers.
  • Read the account in 2 Kings 6 and talk about the difference of angels described in the Bible versus artwork portraying them now.

Please feel free to share with friends and leave comments…  Do you have other connections between the tradition and the heart of the holiday?  Creative ideas to make it stick?  I’d love to know what you and your family do with this!


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