Today in our ‘Dearne Churches Together’ prayer meeting, we looked at the messages of hope which the angels brought to people as they announced the good news of Jesus’s birth. These messages still resonate with us today.
Do Not Be Afraid
Angels are awesome spiritual beings and their messages invariably start with the words ‘Do not be afraid!’ (Luke 1:12,30; Matt 1:20; Luke 2:10) At this time of pandemic and isolation, we are grateful for the reassurance that God brings to our hearts that we need not fear. No matter what is facing us – unemployment, bereavement, illness or even death – we can be liberated from fear because of the victory Jesus won on the cross. (Heb 2:14-15)
God Loves Us
The angels reminded people they had found favour with God and that God’s love was with them. (Luke 2:14) Knowing that God loves us is the most liberating experience in the world! God chose Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, shepherds and wise men to be part of His great rescue plan of salvation – not because they deserved it or were so special in themselves, but because of His great love and kindness to them. We too can experience His love and kindness daily.
Joy & Delight
To barren parents, the angel brought a message of the birth of a son (John) who would bring them delight. (Luke 1:14) To the shepherds, the angels brought a message of good news and great joy. (Luke 2:10-11) The message of Christmas is one of great joy and delight – and it lasts longer than a few days! The joy of the Lord can be our strength. (Neh 8:10)
The angels brought messages of peace (Luke 2:14) and Christmas focuses on the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 9:6) Because of Jesus, we now have peace with God (Rom 5:1) and can also know peace in our own hearts and with other people.
Ultimately, the message of the angels focussed on a person, Jesus, whose very name spoke of God’s purpose – ‘Yahweh is salvation.’ (Matt 1:21, Luke 1:31) Jesus is the means of our salvation. He is our rescuer. Christmas reminds us also that this salvation means God is with us – Immanuel. (Matt 1:23) With God’s presence in our lives, nothing is impossible for us.
Luke 1:37 reminds us that ‘no word from God will ever fail.’ ‘Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!’ (Luke 1:37, The Passion Translation) The angel’s word to Mary gives us hope that when we face impossible (unprecedented?!) situations, we can still have hope, because of who God is. May our response be like hers: ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ (Luke 1:38) Whatever God says to us, may our hearts, minds and wills be yielded to Him in obedient faith.