This Christmas I have been taking time to ponder that story of Christ through the eyes of George Frederich Handel. Our congregation has been using some of the great choruses of the Messiah to tell the advent story of the King of Kings. This Sunday we focus on the whole advent story of the Messiah as with Strings and Choir we celebrate, Messiah.
I remember many times over the years hearing choirs sing bits and pieces of the Messiah. I have never had the privilege of hearing the entire Messiah live in one sitting. It is on my bucket list. I also remember listening to children as they hear the great Hallelujah Chorus for the first time, eyes wide, head tilted at that perfect angle to take it all in. I can also recall the “whispers” of the children to their parents “Are those the Angels?”
That thought came to me again the other day as I was listening to a recording of the Messiah in my car, “are those the angels?” Then my mind drifted to the Christmas Story and the life of Christ from a new perspective, from the angle of the angels.
Can you imagine the scene in heaven as the Lord of Life leaves his throne and to the angels surprise is next seen in the being of a tiny child, secure in the womb of his mother. What questions the incarnation must have brought. Since angels do not have the mind of Christ, and are not privy to the thoughts of God, they must have been filed with wonder. Can you see them poised and ready on that night when Christ was to be born for the command of God to swoop in and rescue the child from the cold, and the disgrace of the manger, but the command never came.
They were given the command to go and tell the inhabitants of the hill country the news. At the request of their God they went in full voice to sing the praise of heaven to shepherds below.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to 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. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Can you imagine the excitement of the Angels, finally they get to do something! They get to share with the Shepherds the story. I like to imagine that their excitement was filled with dialog not recorded by Luke, “Boys, do you have ANY idea who this is that we are singing about?” Not the script they would have written for their King, but delighted to be a part of this mysterious drama that was unfolding.
I pray that I, this Christmas will share in the excitement of the angels to welcome the King of King to the manger bed of Bethlehem. I pray that I will not be able to contain the joy of the night!
This is not the angels only encounter with their King as he walked the earth. Scripture tells us more of their interaction. Come back as we ponder again the angle of the angels to the life of Christ.