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  • Writer's pictureAli Kennedy

A Shout Out to the Angels this Advent

"A ghost mommy, a ghost!" This has been a periodic occurrence from my three and a half year old, as we turn out the lights in her room at bedtime.

"No honey, there are no ghosts...just angels." I was surprised at what came out of my mouth so spontaneously, and yet--so matter of factly?

Since then, it has made me reflect a bit more on my statement. Did I really believe in these somewhat fantastical beings that we associate with wearing white and playing harps in Heaven?

How about you?

Maybe it is not something you've ever thought about or even care about. If that is that case, you may want to leave this post now. I won't be offended.;) But if, like me, you have even an inkling of intrigue around this topic, read on.

In the past few years, I have had a growing fascination with angels. I am not sure where it came from really. I suppose I have noticed in the popular culture of entertainment an increase in "spiritual things" in movies and shows. Mostly some of the darker elements, such as portrayals of ghosts, demons, devils, zombies, and the like. And I have found myself wondering, where is the portrayal of the other side? If we are open to the spiritual realm, let us at least be fair in portraying both sides.

Enter my fascination with angels. They are everywhere in the Scriptures playing important roles as messengers, protectors, worshippers, and comforters. They are often sent by God for a purpose to complete a mission of bringing Heavenly goodness to our earthly darkness. They carry with them such glory and beauty that they often incite fear in the humans they encounter:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today...a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-14)

There is much to highlight in this popular passage we read each year during the Christian Advent season in the lead up to Christmas day. But what struck me this year is the significance of, yes, the angel in the story. What are we to make of these Heavenly beings? Couldn't God just deliver the message of good news Himself? Angels may have existed then, but do they still exist today?

I am not an expert on angels by any means. And from a theological perspective, there is probably much more to consider here. But my personal view that has formed as somewhat of a growing conviction in my heart and mind over the years, is that if angels surrounded both the foretelling (Old Testament) and the birth of Jesus (New Testament), and we are told they will be present at Jesus' return, why wouldn't they remain in this time in between? Would they just disappear during this time? It is a simple argument, but I think not. I have come to believe they are absolutely 'still around' and that there may even be specific ways to increase their presence among us.

But how?

First, we can anchor our hope and faith around verses like Psalm 34:7,

"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them."

And Psalm 91:11:

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways..."

To me, these verses imply that there are angels assigned to (and encamped around) each one of us who believe in and fear God. Therefore, we can develop the habit of regularly acknowledging their presence in our lives--even when we can't see them. For example, here are some things I have begun to do regularly:

  • I thank God for assigning specific angels to me to guard me in all my ways. I pray this with my daughters each night and pray Psalm 91:11 over them as they are falling asleep.

  • I acknowledge the angels themselves throughout my day: "Thank you angels, who have been assigned to me, for being here now. Thank you for forming a hedge of protection around me and my household and encamping around us now, etc..."

  • I even go as far as to imagine the angels surrounding me, my home, my church, and my loved ones on a daily basis. I do this before ministry prayer times, on airplanes, in hospitals, or any moments in which I may feel anxious or worried. I imagine angels surrounding the room, person or situation and it often brings an immediate sense of peace and calm. That is what they are sent to do! I am often puzzled as to why Christians do not make more use of them.;)

  • I also ask God to be given the grace to actually let me see--with my physical eyes-- the angels around me. I have had one dream-like instance where I believe I saw an angelic being outside my window, but that is all so far. I continue to ask! Because...why not?

  • I also place angels around my home as visual reminders of their protective and purposeful presence in our lives.

So there. Thank. Acknowledge. Imagine. Ask. Those are some very simple steps you can take to begin to increase your awareness of God's angelic army in your life. The ministry of angels (see Hebrews 1:14) is a powerful one and I believe it it is very under utilized in the Church today.

As part of Advent this month, as we gaze upon the babe Jesus in the manger, perhaps we can remember--and give a special shout out to--God's angels that surrounded him then and continue to surround us now in our own lives, families and dwellings. They deserve some credit, don't you think?

If you are like me and keen to learn more about these fascinating beings, you can check out Angels are for Real by Judith MacNutt, a Biblically grounded, accessible and engaging little book on angels. You can also have some fun doing some personal study through some the verses that reference angels in Scripture:

  • 2 Samuel 14:17

  • Job 38:1-7

  • Psalm 34:7, 91:11, 103:20

  • Matthew 4:6-7, 16:27, 18:10, 22:30, 24:31

  • Luke 4:10, 15:10, 20:35-37

  • John 20:11-12

  • Hebrews 1:14, 2:6-9, 12:22, 13:2

  • 1Peter 1:12, 3:21-22

  • Revelation 4:8, 5:11-12, 14:6

Enjoy and I pray you will be blessed as you begin to give regular shout outs to God's angels in your life. They are there!

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