Posted in Advent devotions

The Cast of Advent: December 22 – the angel who appeared to the shepherds

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)

What a great assignment! As a messenger from the Lord and a ministering spirit to people, this angel got to make the announcement of all time. The savior has been born! The Christ has come! This is a unique moment in the history of the world and the salvation plans of God. Never before and never again would such news be the headline of the day.

Sometimes only a few people show up for church. I’ve done funerals for less than six people. Before we stopped gathering for New Years Eve worship, we only had about a dozen. I even showed up at church on Sunday morning as a hurricane was approaching and was the only one there. When you have the best news of all, the gospel, you always hope a few more people will be there to hear it.

This night, it was just some shepherds who found themselves in the presence of an angel bathed in the glory of the Lord. Angel usually show up and speak to individuals, like Mary and Joseph. It’s very personal. Yet, on this occasion, it was “good news of great joy for all the people.” It’s an announcement meant for a much wider audience.

Like you and I. Do you ever get tired of reading or hearing those words? Not me. And when I do, I sense the glory of the Lord surrounding me, too. That’s the power of God’s Word. It brings you into his presence, touches your heart, and makes you feel like he’s talking to just you.

Thank you, Lord, for such great news – for me and everyone else, too! Amen.

Posted in Advent devotions

The Cast of Advent: December 12 – the angel who came to Joseph

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:20,21)

We aren’t told the name of this angel. It may have been Gabriel, messenger to Zechariah and Mary. Or it may have been another. Another who got the short straw. 

How would like to take this message to Joseph? It’s out there to say the least. Even though it goes against every nuance of the law, go ahead and marry Mary. Even though this isn’t your son, he will save his people from their sins. 

I can imagine Joseph waking up the next morning breathing heavy, covered in sweat, thankful that it was just a dream!  Or was it? Was this one of those dreams where God is actually communicating with you? Or your worst nightmare?

The other angel got to announce an answered prayer to Zechariah and God’s favor to Mary. This angel comes to Joseph looking for a favor. “Can you just go ahead and marry her? She’s going to need a husband and he’s going to need a dad.” And that’s exactly what Joseph does. 

I wonder if the angel was relieved that Joseph responded in this way? Imagine if you had to go back to God and report, “He won’t do it.” 

Thanks, Lord, for Joseph’s positive response to an unusual dream and an angel’s words. Amen.