by Tony Nester

Touched by an Angel
Tony Nester
Luke 2:8-14; Colossians 1:15-20

Angels seem to be everywhere at Christmas time.

Clarence Odbody - a strange name for an angel - shows up every year in the movie, ''It's a Wonderful Life.'' He arrives just in time to stop a despairing George Bailey from committing suicide on Christmas Eve.

Or you could open to Max Lucado's ''An Angel Story'' and hear how God instructs the angel Gabriel to deliver a vial to a young Jewish girl. Pointing to the vial God says to Gabriel, ''The fruit of [this] Seed is the Son of God. Take it to her.'' Max lets you in on what Gabriel was thinking. ''I could not comprehend God's plan, but my understanding was not essential. My obedience was. I lowered my head, and He draped the chain around my neck. Amazingly, the vial was no longer empty. It glowed with Light. 'Jesus. Tell her to call My Son Jesus.'''

Still another angel shows up in the children's book, The Littlest Angel, by Charles Tazewell. Here is a cute little angel who sings off key and can't keep his halo on. But in the end he gives the best of all gifts to the baby Jesus.

The most important angels show up in the Bible's Christmas stories that we read on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Luke reports that an angel (Gabriel) told Mary that she will be with child from the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Luke also tells us that shepherds near Bethlehem had a vision of angels in the night sky. These angels tell the shepherds that a Savior is born who is Christ, the Lord. The angels then gave acts of praise, ''Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!''(Luke 2:8-14).

If you have a bit of Ebenezer Scrooge in you, you might just say ''Bah - Humbug!'' and dismiss all this angel talk with a wave of your stingy hand. But even if you have a generous spirit, you might be tempted to dismiss angels as just the stuff of fairy tales. Is the Bible, then, just another fairy tale or is something else going on he ...

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