On The Fourth Day

   To say that the shepherds were frightened at the appearance of the angel is an understatement; they were terrified. I've often wondered what it was like, on that night for the shepherds, but I can be sure of one thing. When that angel first appeared it was heart stopping moment for everyone present.

  It is interesting to note that in the scriptures, whenever angels spoke to men, they had the exact same greeting. "Do not be afraid." Angels are unworldly, fearsome creatures, unlike the "Raphaelite" image most of us have in our heads of beautfiul ladies smiling sweetly and playing softly on harps or lutes. Of course none of us can know for certain until we've seen one ourselves, but from all evidences, it seems that angels and fright go together.

  The word angel literally means, "Messenger." Angels are God's announcers, they carry His dispatches from heaven to earth, and, perhaps, other places. The only other job we see angels performing is that of guarding, such as in Genesis where and angel with a flaming sword came down to guard the way to the tree of life.

  This image of reality definitely clashes with the idea of hearing angels "sweetly singing o'er the plains." However, one thing that is momentous about one particular angel sighting, is that it was the one instance where it seems angels revealed a bit of emotion.

 Read this familiar passage, Luke 2: 8-14, with me.

 "In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  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. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”"

 Though it doesn't explicitly mention, it, the event seems to imply that even the angels were excited about God's redemptive plan coming to fruition. 

  We do know for certain that the Shepherds were pretty excited, they immediately got up, left their sheep, which is a big 'no, no' especially at night, and went out to seek the King of the Jews. 

   The bouncy old carol, "Angels we have heard on High," very well expresses what the Shepherds must have felt, after they had gotten over their fright and the angels had left. 

 In the first verse, the Shepherds express their excitement over hearing angels singing. In the second, a skeptic would like to know exactly what they're rejoicing over, and in the third verse, the Shepherds respond with an invitation to come and see the Christ, the wond'rous child of whom the angels sing.


                            

As we remember the Angel's legendary sally to "certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay," let us, like the shepherds immediately drop what we're doing and seek out our Savior who is Christ the Lord.

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