it is so high that I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139: 1-2, 6)
It is said that Advent is a season of wonder. What is it that fills me with awe? Today (truth be told), I have one foot in the exuberant joy that is just around the corner. I struggle to avoid “skipping ahead” to lose myself in the beloved story. But still, I know that it isn’t just contemplating God coming to earth that fills me with awe. I drag myself back from anticipating the Incarnation to ponder the reality of God being fully present in me, not just on earth. Now, that truly is too wonderful.
The Lord God’s Spirit is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me
to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim release for captives.
It is recorded in the fourth chapter of Luke that Jesus stood up in the temple and referring to himself announced almost these same words. It has always been dangerous to try to alter the balance of power of the rich especially on behalf of the poor. Jesus embraced this risk. It’s easy to say we want to follow in the steps of Jesus until we come to a challenge like this. We fear being labeled “do-gooders” or “naïve.” But can we really avoid this risk and be faithful to the Jesus of the Gospels? Let’s take this step before Christmas arrives and reach out to someone with less – fewer resources or less family support.
(c) 2017 Eunice Cheshire
Spiritual Director &
HeartPaths Core Faculty
1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
It seems like angels in the Bible can be pretty hard to deal with a lot of the time. So why is it we are always wanting to see one? In the Bible angels are not sweet and cute and certainly not cuddly. Angels come as messengers of God! That is big time! In fact that is big time enough that the Angels first statement is, “Be not afraid.”
For me personally, when I am face to face with a messenger from God, I can assure you that I am very afraid. The fact this angel is trying to reassure me is not likely to have a whole lot of effect on how I feel in the presence of the angel.
Now don’t get me wrong. I appreciate how the angel would be concerned about my best interest and give me CPR if needed.
The angels seem fairly positive in today’s scripture. They show up, and the shepherds grovel appropriately. And the angels make some pretty amazing and huge announcements directing the shepherds to go see for themselves. So after the angels leave, the shepherds make haste to go and see for themselves.
Ever wondered what they talked about on that walk? Bet it was some way out guessing and interpreting and comparing about what they had seen and heard! Anyway, they make it to the manger, and praise God, and tell their story…to whom exactly?
We know Mary was one of the people the shepherds told. W know she pondered it. Wonder what that means exactly? I bet it was reassuring to hear others having God experiences regarding her baby boy. After all, she had given her life over to her experiences with God and this baby. Hmmm…so maybe the angels are sent to them to help them to do just that, turn their lives over to God and Jesus. Each to what amount they are able to surrender. Surrendering is not an easy thing to do. So maybe the angels are big and awesome to help them do that! I think it would be helpful to me! How about you? Do you need some big kind of scary angels to help you do the things God wants you to do? Some tasks need more “encouragement” than others I bet!
I believe angels still visit us to help move and encourage to do what God desires of us. What moves and encourages you to follow Jesus the most, maybe that is one of your angels!