When I was a little boy I collected baseball cards. I had a few football and basketball cards, but the ones that mattered most to me were the baseball players. Like so many other boys my age, I dreamed of one day becoming a professional baseball player.
When I went away to college the cards went into the metal building out behind our house, and by the time I asked for them later, I learned that rats had destroyed all but a precious few. I don’t have much passion for collecting things anymore.
But from to time I will visit in a home where the residents have a collection of some kind. I have seen electric trains, Hot Wheels cars, porcelain dolls, and coins. But one common item that is collected is that of angels. I have seen a number of angel collections through the years.
Why would we collect angels? Do we really know what they look like? What do they stand for? What do they do? Television shows like "Touched by an Angel" have skewed our understanding of angels.
The actual word translated angel means messenger. And in the early pages of both Matthew and Luke’s gospels we see these messengers at work. The angel of the Lord speaks to John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth, before visiting first with Mary, and then with Joseph. The reason? He is preparing them for the coming births of two baby boys.
When God sends a messenger to prepare the way, we probably ought to pay attention and realize something significant is about to happen. And indeed the birth of Jesus is the single most important event in all of human history. With Jesus’ birth, God entered the world in a unique fashion. He became one of us. He lived in our midst.
I am grateful that God chose to prepare the ones who were closest to the situation when Jesus was born. And He is still preparing us to receive the gift of His Son today. Are you ready to celebrate Christmas? Let us honor the Lord Jesus in every aspect of our traditions and celebrations this year.
- By Brad Butler
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pembroke