“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host…”
References to angels appear many places in the Bible. It is, however, primarily thye writings of the early church fathers that have shaped our conception of these spiritual beings.
In these writings, angels are portrayed as the connecting link between God and man, and are divided into distinct classes with differing functions. For example, some types of angels were messengers conveying God’s wishes to mortals, while others were the guardians of Christ when He was on earth.
The Bible does not go into great detail about the physical appearance of angels, although several passages in the Book of Revelation attribute wings to heavenly beings. In spite of this, it was not until the 4th century that angels were depicted in art with wings.
Angels played a prominent role in the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. It was an angel who announced to Mary that she would be visited by the Holy Spirit and would bear the Son of God as a result. And it was an angel who reassured Joseph when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy and told him not to put the young woman away.
On the night of the Nativity, angles were undoubtedly the first to know of the birth of the Christ Child, for it was an angel who announced the joyful news to the shepherds. That messenger was then joined by many other angels, singing the praises of God.
Almighty God, we praise your for creating ways for your heavenly message to float to our ears on earth. Thank you for those majestic and mysterious messengers that we call angels. Help us to listen to their ancient words, and for how they speak even now in our lives. Amen.