December 4: Angels

Matthew 1:20 AMPC
But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit.


Do angels exist? Yes. Yes, they most definitely do. In fact, there is an entire fleet, if you will, of Heavenly beings with which we co-exist. It makes very little difference if we see them or are aware of them or not, they are still there. Though they are far from what many of us typically imagine. They’re not chubby, little unthreatening cherubs and neither are they effeminate fairies. They are everlasting, supernatural, powerful beings, who operate under the authority of God, and are superior to anything in our temporal realm.

We simply cannot read through the Christmas story without becoming aware of the supernatural realm and of angels and how real, active and involved they are. (And this hasn’t changed some 2,000 years later.) Throughout the story, we see them appear and reappear, and we catch a glimpse of their function, how they operate and what our interactions with them should look like.

The word “angel” is the New Testament Greek word meaning “messenger”. Which is one of their primary functions. In the opening scene of the Christmas story, we see them appear as heralds, announcing and proclaiming the Heavenly news, “For unto you is born this day, a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord“. But in other cases, such as in Joseph’s dream, an angel also served to bring comfort, direction, confirmation and some very specific instruction. That’s because angels are like “logistical agents” that travel regularly back and forth between heaven and earth, having mostly earthly responsibilities and carrying out specific assignments from the throne room of God.

Angels can appear to us in our real, physical world, (as Gabriel did to Mary), or they can appear in the ethereal world of dreams and visions as this angel appeared to Joseph. We can know they’re angels, but at times, we will not:

Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 AMP

How they appear, and/or what form they choose to wrap themselves in as they interact with and minister to us shouldn’t really be our focus. As majestic and powerful as angels are, our focus must remain on God. We are not to summons angels, or try and command them, and neither are they to be the object of our prayers, petitions and especially our affection.

Whatever they are here to accomplish or communicate is more important than the method or form in which they do so. And since their primary objective is to carry out the assignments they have from God, (not to draw attention to themselves or show how glorious they are) we have to know they will take on even the simplest and most humblest of forms if necessary in order for them to be effective in their assignment.

Here’s the comfort I take from today’s reading: God has multiple ways of helping me and communicating with me. He knows where I’m perplexed and where I’m feeling discouraged. He knows the answers and specifics I need to keep moving forward, and He knows when I will need them. Today, I choose to rest in the truth of that.  And in the meantime, while I’m waiting, I will quiet my soul, abide in His peace, and keep my eyes focused on Him, and my ears attuned to His voice, knowing the answers and direction will come.