I was asked to write a short Christmas message by The Chairman of the Communications Committee. It got me thinking about Christmas and communication.
The events leading up to the nativity and the event itself is a wonderful example of God communicating with various people to announce the momentous first Christmas – the birth of the child in Bethlehem.
Throughout this Angels play a key role – communicating with those involved, in one way or another, with the story.
The first voice was heard when the archangel Gabriel told Mary she would bear a child. Pondering this disquieting information, Mary was assured by Gabriel, God also sent an angel in a dream to smooth away Joseph’s fears.
Shepherds, in the surrounding hills, who were amongst the lowest in the Israeli social order, were guarding their sheep that night, when an angel appeared. The shepherds were naturally terrified.
To underline the gravity of the message, a host of angels gathered around the original messenger, praising God, singing “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those he favours.”
They then made their way to the stable, witnessed the truth of the angel’s message, and shared the angel’s words with Mary and Joseph and those gathered around the manger.
Angels, are often trivialised, but are absolutely vital to God’s communication. They are seen as what God intends them to be – messengers from God, guides for people to know God’s will.
Knowing their importance then, the voices of the Saints tell us it would be wise to embrace angels in our lives.
St. Francis underlined this wisdom, saying: “Make yourself familiar with the angels and behold them frequently in spirit: for without being seen, they are present with you.
And from St Paul. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
What a wonderful thought for Christmas and it is not surprising then that the Angel is usually the last ornament placed on the highest branch the tree. There it sits, in resplendent glory.
The Angel deserves a place of honour, for their voice announced the coming of the Christ child – God communicating through them to those “with ears to hear” – the message of Joy, of Hope, and of Love, at Christmas time.