Thank you for joining me as we look into the most important holiday on the calendar: Christmas. No, not the “I can’t find a parking spot at the mall” holiday; I mean the real day of remembrance of God coming to earth in a form that doesn’t scare the heeby-geebies out of us. I know of only one person who was frightened by this cuddly, little baby, but we’ll get to him later.
The first player in this incredible story isn’t a person, but an angel. (Yes, they are real. Trust me! I can just imagine the scene in Heaven. The angels are getting quite bored by having no assignments dealing with people for over 400 years. Then, from out of nowhere, God calls out. “Gabriel!”
Gabriel comes to immediate attention and stands before the throne of God. “Yes, Sir!”
“I have a message for you to deliver. Don’t delay. We need to start the program now.”
“You mean the ‘Jesus Program?’ I’ve been wondering when that was going to be implemented. People are sure making a mess of the planet You gave them to live on. Do I get to appear in the sky and make a grand speech?” Gabriel sticks his chest out.
“There’s a priest in My Temple. His name is Zacharias. He will sire the forerunner. You must tell him.”
“The forerunner… yes, I forgot that part. What if he doesn’t want to take part? What is Plan B?” Gabriel shifts his weight to the left.
In the moment it takes an angel to travel from Heaven to Earth Gabriel thought. I know why people can’t understand God. I mean, I’ve been in His presence since angels were created, and I can’t comprehend how this whole thing works. He gives them free will to do as they want, yet, He has everything worked out to the smallest detail. Of course there’s no Plan B. What was I thinking?”
Six months after the first assignment Gabriel is again standing at attention receiving instructions. “There’s a young woman who will carry Me in her womb for the next nine months. She’s My chosen vessel.”
“But, God…what if she says ‘No’? Who will I go to then? The last time You sent me the to Earth the man didn’t believe me. What is Pla…”
Gabriel’s thoughts as he goes to Earth the second time could have been. This must be some special girl for this assignment; probably from one of the priestly lines, a prominent family in Jerusalem, well to do.
He’s surprised to find himself in front of a peasant girl in Nazareth saying. “Greetings, highly favored one…”
A short time later God explains Gabriel’s third visit to him. “The man pledged to marry Mary needs assurance that she’s telling the truth.”
Gabriel swallows hard. “Yes, about this Joseph, are You sure he’s the right man for the job? I’ve been watching him. He’s good with a hammer and saw, but, shouldn’t the step-father of Your son be a bit more educated? If he doesn’t want the responsibility who do I go to then? Besides, he’s asleep.”
Gabriel’s thoughts this time were. Of course he’s the right man. I must trust God in these matters. I haven’t used the dream approach since Daniel. This’ll be fun.
The next time God hands out orders He’s smiling. “They must know My Son is born tonight! Now you can make your grand speech.”
Gabriel scratches his head. “But, it’s night. Almost everyone in Jerusalem is asleep, especially, the Sanhedrin. Shall I light up the sky to awaken everybody?”
“Tell the shepherds near Bethlehem. They must be told. They’ll pass the news along. Now, GO! ALL OF YOU, GO!” God lets out a hearty laugh.
As Gabriel nears the Earth he notices a new star beaming a ray straight to Bethlehem. He looks over his shoulder to see the angelic host following. Shepherds…? Most people consider them the lowest class in the world. Why…? Never mind. We have our orders.
A couple of years later God tells Gabriel. “The three men from the East must not go back to Herod. Tell them to take another route.”
Gabriel nods. “Yes, I admire the way they showed their gratitude to You by giving gifts. But, won’t somebody steal them from Joseph and Mary as soon as they find out what they have?”
I don’t know why I question God. He has this all worked out. After all, this is His Story.
The following night Gabriel hears. “Joseph must take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. NOW! No delays!”
As Gabriel flies to Earth he thinks. How are they going to afford travel to Egypt? They’re such poor people. Then he slaps his palm to his forehead. Of course... the gifts; I don’t need to know how. Just do your job, Gabriel.
It’s important to remember that the role of the Holy Spirit has changed tremendously since Jesus fulfilled all that was laid out in the Old Testament. God seldom uses angels to talk to people, anymore. It’s now our job to present God’s gift of eternal life to a dying world. The Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of the chosen ones who are going to respond, but we must give the Spirit something to work with.
Yes, it’s you and I who are called upon to tell of God’s love and forgiveness to hurting souls around us. How we do that is as varied as the personalities we carry. Start with gestures of kindness in times of need. A simple invitation to church could be the event that turns another life around.
That’s why I write what I do. I never know when something I write will touch somebody in a way that sends them on a deeper search for truth. A magazine article I write could cause a family to adopt an orphaned child into the family of God.
Just like Gabriel, we, too, must go when we’re given our assignments.
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