by Dan Peeler
Minister for Children and Families
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1.28
A Word of
How many hosts of angels do you suppose have you have seen so far this season? When Luke writes about the heavenly host, he is using a Greek term that means a whole army, or a countless number of these supernatural beings. The writer of the Gospel of Luke includes a number of interactions between angels and humans. In Luke 1:11, an angel informs the priest Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth will have a child in their old age. The child turns out to be John the Baptist, the herald of the Messiah. In Luke 1:26 the angel Gabriel appears with his famous Annunciation to the teenage Mary of Nazareth to whom he proclaims the birth of the Christ. Then, in a spectacular finale, the shepherds are given their good tidings by the host of angels, or a whole sky-full of them, in Luke 2:10.
Ever since then, angels have been a favorite icon of the season, even to the point that armies of them surround us in malls, on Christmas cards and in glowing plastic yard art. On the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, we lit the Angel’s Candle or Candle of Love. The principle purpose of angels in scripture has been as messengers of God and it is most appropriate that the message that sums up all the other Advent weeks is the proclamation of love. In order to experience the Hope, Peace and Joy that the other weeks celebrated, we must ultimately understand that the coming of the Christ is all about love.
Luke is so overwhelmed by the announcement of the incarnation of God’s love in the world, that he enlists a whole army to carry it. He would probably be a bit puzzled as to the identity of our own winged yard decor since Greek Scripture angels are never described as having wings, but he would understand that we still make our best effort to somehow depict indescribable beings who deliver an unfathomable message to the world: No matter who we are; advanced in age or teenager, perhaps even ragged and forgotten shepherds, we are highly favored and this spectacle of love still embraces us; all of us.
May I recognize your messengers and affirm your love.