Charlie Brown’s Christmas cartoon that is aired every year on television recounts the Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel……the great news that salvation has appeared to all men. And in those holy scriptures we read that an angel of the Lord has been given this assignment to proclaim the news of the birth of the Savior. The Christmas story that is declared to us is most often what has been given to us through the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Even The Christmas story that is declared to us is most often what has been given to us through the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Even
I find it so interesting that angels, beings created by God for His service, are given specific assignments that quite often, as with this proclamation given to shepherds outside of Bethlehem, declare God’s will and purposes. And no where in the bible do we see them fulfilling their assignments any more directly than centered around the birth of the Christ child.
Think about how Mary received the news of her being the mother of Jesus. Even her cousin Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, gets his information delivered to him from an angel. And Mary’s betrothed husband Joseph is visited by an angel in dreams. The shepherds, as stated earlier, get the news that a Savior has been born…..again, from an angel. Then on top of all of that……the hillside is surrounded with the heavenly hosts (other angels). And we are aware that the shepherds were in such awe of what they had both heard and seen, that t hey are told, as is so often the case, not to be afraid.
Afraid? Why should they or anyone else be afraid of an angel…..or angels? There must be something quite awesome in their appearance that, as we sing in the Christmas carol, “Silent Night”, ‘shepherds quake at the sight’. I don’t believe the shepherds, for instance, were going, “Oh yeah. There just seems to be angels everywhere doesn’t there!” So was it a matter that they were just totally awesome in appearance, or was there an eminent radiance shining forth that would cause humans to “fear greatly”?.
Then somewhere around the 19th century, artists started drawing and painting these angelic beings as these cute little fluffy, harp carrying baby looking creatures that are merely around us to do our bidding. No where from anything that we read of angels in the bible can we concoct such a notion.
The shepherds tending their flocks by night are visited by an angel of the Lord who’s divine assignment is to make known to them the greatest of all news. His appearance apparently makes them exceedingly fearful. But the news that he is given to proclaim breaks the yoke of fear that is upon all mankind. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”