THE ANNOUNCING ANGELS
This wonderful, blessed, awesome night of nights is upon us! Christmas Eve- the night we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Christ, our God-with-us! We revisit Luke 2, in which the angels proclaim their birth announcement to the shepherds, telling them of Jesus, the baby who had come to save all the people.
Light the Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd and Angel Candles.
Luke 2:8-16 (NRSV)
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
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.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
Light the Christ Candle.
On this Christmas Eve, in this very special story, we find our peace. A Savior has come. The angels proclaim peace on earth. The shepherds are given all four of the gifts of the season- hope, love, joy and peace- in this one incredible announcement!
The shepherds show us another way to be Presences of Peace. Trusting the heavenly message, the shepherds were excited, courageous and peaceful enough to change course- even with their flocks to manage- in order to find Jesus. Oh, what peace we can encounter when we learn to let God guide us into new adventures. What peace we can discover when God reveals that we are in the wrong place, that we are missing out on something better. We have a Presence of Peace who will lead us as we journey forth, wherever we go.
Prayer: On this Christmas Eve, dear God, we thank you again for giving us your Son Jesus, for coming to us as our greatest Presence of Peace. Come into our hearts. Transform us into the people you want us to be- people of your hope, love, joy and peace. Amen.