Have you ever seen an angel? Have you ever thought seriously about what it might be like to see an angel up close and personal? I’m guessing the shepherds in the field on that night more than two thousand years ago hadn’t really thought about it much either.
Imagine, you are out in the countryside wondering about with your flock of sheep, finding food and water for them. The sun is starting to set, so you find a good place to bed the flock down for the night. Providing you are a good shepherd; you find a place where the sheep are hemmed in and you can get a little sleep yourself.
You have probably encountered predators in the night who are looking to take one of your sheep for their meal. As mentioned by David, it may have been a lion or a bear. You scare them off or kill them with a sling and a couple smooth stones.
All of a sudden someone appears in front of you. You have never seen anyone like him. Since I have never seen an angel with my own eyes, I can only imagine what one may look like. My thoughts are a being that looks somewhat human but stands about nine or ten feet tall. I also assume he would have wings, since we read of them flying. Yet perhaps they don’t need wings to fly. I also imagine him dressed in flowing robes. Is this the picture you have in your mind?
Unfortunately, that picture is largely a result of ancient art and not really based on biblical accounts. I challenge you to find a description of an angel in the Bible. We see a handful of declarations made by angels in a loud voice. We see them playing a trumpet at the end of days. We know of Michael fighting against Satan. And we know Gabriel delivered messages to both Zechariah and Mary.
No matter what the angel actually looked like, the shepherds were initially terrified when he suddenly appeared. So, the angel told them not to be afraid (Luke 2:10), much like Gabriel had said to Zechariah when he proclaimed that Elizabeth would have a baby and he was to be named John. That tells me there was an awesome, overpowering presence projected by the angel.
Now imagine a large number of the heavenly host appearing out of nowhere praising God. Certainly, this is an event that you must act on and one that you will never forget. An everyday shepherd simply does not have these types of encounters. We don’t either, but we can use our imagination to put ourselves in the story.
I pray we all spend a little time this advent to think about the miraculous events that took place around Jesus’ birth. I pray we imagine an angel appearing. I pray each of us take action based on a miraculous event. Contemplate miracles this advent. Take action. Make decisions, based on Jesus, our Savior. Be in awe of God spending time on this earth as a human.
Luke 2:13-14 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.”