by Jerry Vines

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Christmas Characters: Gabriel (5 of 6)
Series: Christmas Characters
Jerry Vines
Luke 1:19

When Jesus was born there was a flurry of angelic activity. Several of the characters of Christmas received an appearance of an angel. Zacharias, who was the father of John the Baptist, had an angel of the Lord named Gabriel appear to him and give him an announcement concerning the birth of his son and the birth of God's Son. Then, the angel Gabriel (the same angel) appeared to Mary and told her that she had been chosen by heaven to be the earthly vehicle through whom the Son of God would be born. Joseph received a message from the angels. In fact there were three appearances, as best I can determine, by angels to Joseph telling him what God's plan was.

Then, there was an angel who appeared to the shepherds as they watched their flock. After they gave their message the Bible says that a heavenly host appeared unto them, praising God. Praising the Lord and saying, ''Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill, toward men.''

Angels. The reality of angels. The subject of angels moves us into another world. There is a great deal of interest, contemporarily, in the subject of angels. You can go to any secular bookstore and find that there will be entire sections and rows of books on the subject of angels. Everywhere you turn, it seems, there is talk about angels. Several movies now about angels. I read in the paper that Dolly Parton has a movie, ''The Unlikely Angel.'' There's another recent movie entitled, ''The Preacher's Wife'' featuring Whitney Houston. It's about an angel who came and put back together a frayed marriage.

Actually, angels in movies are not a new thing. One of the standards at this time of year is the movie, ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' featuring James Stewart. You may recall in that movie we have a guardian angel for a small town man. So, angels are much in the minds of people. There is even a television program entitled, ''Touched ...

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