I am never quite sure about angels. Because I have never met one (or perhaps I have but not known!) I tend to think they may be visions rather than a real personal presence. I certainly don’t think they will have wings! But here we are at another crossroads in the Biblical story and it is essential that everyone knows the score! There can be no room for doubt so Gabriel, no less, is the messenger on both occasions.
A family close to us cannot have children and this has been a source of great sadness to them and their wider family. Anyone who has been in this situation will empathise with Zechariah and Elizabeth. God intervenes and Elizabeth has the joy of giving birth to a healthy boy – and Zechariah gets his voice back. Meantime Mary meets with Gabriel and accepts that she has been chosen to be part of something very special; but I suspect she was really not sure about how it would all work out. She could only trust in God and play her part in spite of the awkward discussion she must have had with Joseph.
So the stage is set for the coming of The Messiah and the key players are ordinary folk. This is so often God’s way and we need to take note of this even more in our pumped-up, personality-driven world. God’s church is not the playground of heroes, but it is a congregation of saints; ordinary folk made whole by the blood of Christ. We are called to witness to Our Lord; not with grand gestures, embellished by worldly measures of wealth and power, but with daily lives that give Jesus a chance to shine through. Who knows, maybe there are more angels around than we think!
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
“Dear Lord as we celebrate Christmas in a few weeks, may the simple truths of the Gospel overwhelm our hearts and minds, enabling us to ‘shine for Jesus’ so that others may share in our joy. Help us to reach out to those in need materially, emotionally and spiritually. “