But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) (NASB).
Oh, to be a messenger of God like the angel Gabriel—a bearer of “good news” to a world that so desperately needs it!
Did you know that Gabriel is one of only three angels mentioned by name in the Bible? One is a messenger—Gabriel. One is a warrior—Michael the Archangel. And one is a deceiver—Lucifer.
The angel Gabriel, whose name means “God is great” and “strong man of God,” is mentioned three times in the Bible. First, he delivers a message from God to the prophet Daniel, to explain a vision (Daniel 8:16). Next, he informs the priest Zechariah about the upcoming birth of his son, John the Baptist (Luke 1:19). And then finally, he appears to the Virgin Mary to tell her that she would conceive and bear a son—Jesus—Who would “be great and called the Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:26–38).
The gospel of Luke even refers to Gabriel as the “Angel of the Lord” in Luke 1:9, when he tells Zechariah, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God.” And although he isn’t mentioned by name, some theologians believe it was Gabriel who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in our Scripture quote above, bringing “good news” for all people.
Good news, indeed. The beginning of the gospel on earth.
Which is why I believe that Gabriel is so very important to the Christmas story—an angel charged with delivering “good news” to mankind that a Savior has come. A true “messenger of God.”
Just like us.
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
And so, this Christmas, I don’t want to just revel in the joy of the season with its twinkling lights and glittering trees, Hallmark movies and beautifully wrapped gifts. No, I want to be a “messenger of God” too, just like Gabriel. I want to follow his example to proclaim not only the birth of our Savior, but the good news that Jesus has set us free from sin and the world of darkness to usher us into His glorious light. The true “Light” of the world, Who illuminates our lives—and those with whom we share the message of Christmas—brighter and more dazzling than Gabriel’s sky over Bethlehem, blazing with a host of angels.
During this holiday season, there are many ways we can share the true message of Christmas. Anything from delivering home-baked cookies to an elderly neighbor or shut-in and spending time with them … to looking past the hustle-bustle of our own stress to those who just might need a gentle smile. You know, someone you glance at in a crowded store? Or a weary-looking traveler in the car next to yours, mired in traffic? Or even that harried waitress in a busy restaurant teeming with Christmas parties and fun. I pray that in each and every situation of stress and potential selfishness we may encounter this season, God will give us the grace and strength to say no to sin and yes to being a messenger of His love. A love that is truly the essence of Christmas.
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Discuss: During this often hectic season, what are some ways we can be “messengers of God,” countering our own frustrations by dispensing kindness and sensitivity instead?
What are ways and traditions you’ve embraced the true “message” of Christmas in your own life and family?
Pray: Dear Lord, Like Gabriel, I long to be a messenger of Your love and good news to a world that needs it as much as I do, so please show me ways I can bless others this season.
Holy Spirit, put a guard over my heart, mouth, and emotions so stress and temper cannot have its way with me during this, the holiest of holidays.
And most of all, sweet Jesus, help me to keep You at the center of Christmas so Your love can sparkle and shine within me to reveal the true Light of the World.