On this, the fourth day of Advent, we share a devotion from Norman Vincent Peale, the founder of Guideposts, about the role of angels in the Christmas story...
Day 4: Angels, God's Messengers
I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God....—Luke 1:19
Every year, as Christ’s birthday approaches, there is always a magical moment when something touches our hearts with the assurance that Christmas is really coming at last.
We have lived in New York City for many years now, and one such moment is when the great Christmas tree is lighted in Rockefeller Plaza on Fifth Avenue, jeweled with lights, flanked by towering angels made of golden wire.
We love to join the hurrying throngs that always slow down to stare at the tree and the angels—especially the angels—with admiration and a touch of awe.
Why are angels so fascinating to us earthbound mortals? In this Advent season they seem to spring up everywhere: on Christmas cards and gift wrappings; in countless store windows and Nativity scenes; sometimes blowing their herald-trumpets, sometimes just sailing along “with peaceful wings unfurled.”
But these are just representations, whereas the angels that appeared when Christ was born were real. They appeared to the shepherds, but they made other appearances, too, both before and after that joyous night.
So as Advent comes again this year, let’s turn back to the tremendous events chronicled by St. Luke and St. Matthew, and see if we can find new meaning in the various appearances of these celestial beings.
Two thousand years ago they spoke clearly and directly to human beings like ourselves. Perhaps if we transport ourselves backward through time, and listen carefully and reverently, the angels also may have something to say to us this Christmas.
Lord, open our ears and hearts this Advent season to the glad and holy tidings of Your angels of long ago, as well as the ones in our midst today. Amen.
This devotion first appeared in the 1992 edition of Dailiy Guideposts.