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Christmas, Jesus and Angels
Christmas and the Angel Gabriel
In the Christian bible, there are many times that spirit beings named angels are referred to, and are part of the overall narrative that emerged through the story, which was told over thousands of years.
Even so, only two angels are ever mentioned by name. One of those are Michael, and the second is Gabriel.
Gabriel had a special part to play concerning what Christians today call Christmas, which is the celebration of the day the Savior, Jesus Christ, came into the world.
He first appeared to Mary, the future mother of Jesus, who told her she would supernaturally conceive a child while she was a virgin. When I say he first appeared to Mary, I mean in reference to the announcement concerning the coming birth of the Messiah. Gabriel was actually first mentioned in the book of Daniel, appearing in Chapter 8 verse 16, and Chapter 9 verse 21.
Concerning the birth of Jesus and the Christmas story, he is mentioned in Luke Chapter one, versus 19 and 26.
As for Gabriel's first appearance in Luke, he actually appeared to Zacharias, announcing he and his wife Elisabeth would bear a son in their old age. The son he spoke of is known by history as John the Baptist.
Gabriel wasn't the only angel connected to the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus Christ, as an angel appeared to shepherds telling them to go see the baby which would be found lying in a manger. Immediately afterwards a "multitude of the heavenly host" appeared praising God in this manner, according to the King James Version of the bible: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Gabriel the Angel
While artists have generally depicted angels as females, and of course sometimes as cute little cherubs flying around the sky, the truth is, as far as how they are depicted in the Bible, is they are always revealed as males.
Of course we only have the names of two of the angels ever mentioned in the Bible, although there are numerous encounters where they are left unnamed.
Angels don't procreate, and neither will those who are the children of God at the end of the age when they are resurrected into new bodies. At that time the bodies people will be changed into will be like those of the angels, the Bible teaches.
But the impression given is these are amazingly majestic beings, and there are far mightier than men and women of the earth, and that's why I included the interpretation of Gabriel below, which would be far closer to Biblical reality than the imaginations of most artists.
Another interesting thing that is not always accurate, is most of the time angels are drawn or painted with wings. The truth is that there are more than one type of angelic or heavenly being, and some of them are described as having wings, and others looking similar to man.
This isn't that important of a matter, but it does help us understand them a little better.
Majestic Angel Gabriel
Christ and Angels
This is far from the only encounter with angels in the historical account concerning Joseph and Mary, and of course neither with Jesus.
When Joseph found that Mary was pregnant with child, he was going to forsake the commitment to one another to be married, but was communicated to by an angel in a dream, telling him of the circumstances.
As not long after the birth of Christ the crazed Herod heard that a king had been born and ordered all male babies under the age of 2 to be killed. Joseph was warned in a dream by an angel to flee to Egypt because Herod would attempt to kill Jesus.
After the death of Herod, an angel again appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him it was safe for them to return to Israel with Jesus.
Archelaus, the son of Herod, followed in the footsteps of his father, ruling over Judea, and Joseph was again warned in a dream by an angel to take his family and live in Nazareth.
Angel Gabriel Talking to Mary about Birthing Jesus
The point of all of this is angels have played a big part in history in relationship to the reality that Christ came into the world, was crucified, died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven.
When He sends His Spirit down to the people who believe in Him and takes up residence in them, similar to the Christmas story, a new birth has happened, and the angels immediately begin their service towards them as they did towards Christ; not only when He was a baby, but as He walked the earth as a man.
So in a sense, the Christmas story of a birth from Heaven, happens over and over again, and the Holy Scriptures even say that the angels rejoice when one sinner repents. That's a nod towards seeing the germination of Christ being formed in the person who believes, and who then is born again from above, which means Christ again has come to earth in another human being. This is something that is said to move angels deeply.
Angels and the Birth of Christ
What all of this means is Christ was the firstborn of many brethren, and while He retains His unique characteristic as God and man, as a man He was born on this earth, and each time a person turns from their sin and believes in Christ, a new birth happens in a similar fashion as it did when Jesus personally came to the earth, resulting in heaven's attention, protection and calling into the service of angels for those people.
This happens when true faith is released, which immediately results in the Spirit of God inhabiting that person, making them a child of God Himself.
Again, the angels are deeply moved by this, causing them to rejoice each time it happens.
From the point of view of the new birth, you could say Christmas happens over and over again each time a person believes in Christ, although it must be kept in mind that the birth of Jesus is still unique, and He still remains an individual being and person in and of Himself.
The point is people are birthed through faith by the Spirit of God, which mirrors the experience of Christ, but doesn't duplicate it in the sense that He is the only begotten Son of the Father.
But now by faith those who believe in Christ now partake in that family life by a spiritual birth.
Angels and Spiritual Birth
In conclusion, there is something hidden within the interesting character of angelic beings hat causes them to be immensely focused on things that are birthed from heaven. The first, as already mentioned, is when Christ Himself came from heaven and was birthed as a man through Mary.
This is reproduced by the Spirit of God over and over again when people turn from their sins and selfishness and believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior.
It appears that angels never tire of these ongoing experiential events, and seem to look into it over and over again, rejoicing each time it happens.
While this isn't the only things that angels do, it is important and enlightening concerning them, that this is where their interest in mankind begins, and from there it continues on till these heavenly-birthed people return to heaven to the presence of God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.
This is why the Christmas story is so powerful, enchanting and moving, as it draws the attention of all of heaven when Christ was birthed into the history of this world, and again as that is reproduced in those who truly put their faith and trust in Him.