Advent Reader -- Day 21
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone -- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7) ----------
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when the spoke of the things that have now been told to you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 1:10-12)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angels said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:8-14)
The angels rejoiced at the beginning of time. Stars and angels sang loudly together, reveling in God’s awesome creation, perhaps the most beautiful thing they had ever seen. How sad it must have been, later, for the two of them who were chosen to guard the garden gate against reentry by those two people whose sins we are all now born into.
But the angels, because they live in his presence, know the character of God. And so they waited. They longed to look into the mysterious promises that the prophets were bringing, the coming grace of God, but they were mostly silent. They longed for the day of our redemption, yet they were mostly invisible. They sometimes appeared, one or two at a time, throughout the Old Testament when he sent them as messengers, or sometimes as heavenly hosts in great spiritual battles. But mostly they waited...eagerly.
So when one of them was sent to tell the shepherds that the news of God’s grace had reached them too, that a baby had been born, the Messiah, who would bring great joy to all people, the angels could contain themselves no longer. All heaven broke loose. And for a moment, in that field, the supernatural broke through the barrier of our natural world, in a glorious celebration of our salvation.
Before we knew that God was coming for us, the angels knew. And they interrupted our earthly monotony with song: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
What was so wonderful to the angels that they could not restrain their adoration should be a wonder to us too. This Christmas, let us remember that the miracle of our salvation is truly that, a great and glorious miracle, one that sent angels over the edge and through the ceiling of the sky. And let us pray that our God will interrupt our lives with the joy of this message, just as he did for those shepherds in the field.
Lord God, you are the sovereign, majestic and transcendent ruler of all things, whether visible or invisible, past or present. The angelic hosts of heaven serve you continually and go to and fro to accomplish your perfect will. Break into our lives, interrupt our routines, open our blinded eyes and stir our calloused hearts to how amazing your plan truly is. I recognize that, in this life, I only see in a mirror dimly and I only know in part. I simply cannot know fully just as I have been fully known by you, but the time is coming soon when I will see you face to face. In that glorious day when I stand before you by the grace and merit of Christ, my questions will be answered and I will be satisfied. Until then, please allow the joy of my salvation to be my strength. In your holy name I pray. Amen.