Weaving my way through the mass of mall shoppers, past the long line waiting for Santa’s knee, avoiding the tempting smell of far too expensive coffee, I heard familiar carols blasting overhead: “Angels we have heard on high . . .”
And I wondered about those supernatural beings—those powerful creatures that came to announce the Savior’s birth; that pronounced the most incredible good news ever heard by human ears! Remember them from Luke chapter 2?
What are those angels doing this Christmas?
I think they’re doing the same thing they’ve always done.
Those angels are still worshiping.
The angels are all about the Father’s plan: His agenda being promoted and accomplished. As they proceed in carrying out His orders, they take one thing with them that they never go without:
I can only imagine how thrilled they were to be dispatched to the shepherds that holy night with the good news of the event that all of heaven had been anticipating:
[box]Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord . . . and suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest . . .’ (Luke 2:10-14).[/box]
The greatest news mankind could ever receive was completely enveloped in worship and praise for Almighty God!
The angels had good reason for worship—salvation had come! Don’t miss the important message they gave to mankind. In some versions, the message isn’t translated as clearly, so I’m going to post the ESV to provide us with a good understanding of this critical announcement:
[box]Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased (Luke 2:14)![/box]
Where is That Peace They Promised?
The angels didn’t say that all of mankind would experience peace from that point on; they didn’t call a cease-fire to end all wars. The angels weren’t handing out “Get Out of Hell Free” cards for all to enjoy. Nope, the angels were sending the message of peace that can only come through a right relationship with God. True peace will be experienced only by those who receive the peace that He offers. True peace doesn’t mean that there will never be conflict (we are still very much engaged in a real spiritual battle), but it does mean that we have peace with God—no matter what is occurring around us.
At Jesus’ birth, the angels announce the news of peace and close to His death, Jesus brings full clarity to their message of peace:
[box]Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).[/box]
The world offers a temporary form of “peace.” It’s fragile and fleeting. The world’s peace is totally dependent on circumstances. But Jesus offers a different kind of peace. The peace He offers is a peace that comes from the assurance that we’ve been rescued from eternal separation from God (where there is no possibility of peace). This peace is the peace that secures us through every storm of life because we know our Rescuer and can trust Him.
Jesus Came as the Peace Offering!
Peace with God was broken in the garden, when mankind (in Adam) disobeyed God, but now God was bringing One who could restore peace. Jesus came as the peace offering that would provide the way back to God. Now, that’s a reason for worship! And that’s why the angels are beside themselves with joy! He’s come! The only One who can bring peace has come!
[box]. . . As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God . . . and the way of peace they have not known. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith (Romans 3:10–25).[/box]
The angels weren’t the only ones giving praise for Jesus’ birth. After they delivered their message to the shepherds and exited, the shepherds headed into town and spent some time that night in worship as well (Luke 2:20). Incarnation night was filled with praise and worship.
People who know me well, know that I listen to Christmas music all year long. I’m not talking about the Jingle-bells and Santa Clause stuff but the Immanuel and Come Let Us Adore Him praises. I just love the reason we celebrate, and appreciate how this particular genre of music brings me afresh to the wonder of His coming all year long.
I think the Angels are focused on that as well. And I think their activity this Christmas is the same as what they’ve been doing for millennia, and what they do non-stop. Their praise and worship appearance in Bethlehem wasn’t a one-night event.
The Angels are still worshiping.
Listen to what’s going on in heaven right now:
[box]Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come . . . Worthy are You, our Lord and our God to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created (Revelation 4).[/box]
What about you?
Do you have peace with God through the atoning work of His Son? Are you joining the angels in worship?
As you make those last-minute trips through the crush of shoppers in the mall and weave your way through heavy traffic, I hope you’ll take with you the activity of the angels:
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at www.freedigitalphotos.net