The handmade Czech angel ornament was a special gift for Christmas this year.
During Advent, we heard about the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her she was chosen to bear the Son of God. Most of us know that an angel first told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. And soon we will enjoy so many Christmas songs about the angels and the important role they played after Jesus’ birth, singing with joy and proclaiming the good news of his arrival on earth.
But we also know that angels are heavenly creatures and not human. So, I was surprised when my Czech friend handed me a gift bag and told me it was her Christmas gift for me. She is an atheist and just learning about Jesus. She doesn’t celebrate Christ’s birth at Christmas but enjoys a few days off work to travel and spend time with her family.
She explained that while she was at one of the many Christmas markets in Prague with her friends, she saw the ornament and knew she had to get it for me because, she said, “You are an angel.”
This was the first time in my entire life that I was mistaken for an angel. I was touched by her thoughtfulness, but I also knew that I needed to share the truth with her about angels and their support role for God, as well as the fact that I am a human being, not an angel.
We talked for almost two hours about Jesus, his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection. The angels weren’t just there at the first Christmas to share the good news that the “Savior is born,” but an angel also shared the good news on Easter morning that “He is risen!”
When I got back to my flat, I put the angel next to the nativity ornament on my tree and sent her the picture. I reminded her that the angels were messengers the night Jesus was born. They shared the good news of his birth and joyously sang praises to our Savior and King, who came to save all humans from sin. Jesus came to save her, all the Czech people and, of course, the person she thought was an angel, but is only human. And that’s the real reason we celebrate Christmas and join the angels in singing praises to our Savior and King, the baby born in Bethlehem, Christ the Lord.
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This month, we remember the angel sharing the good news with the shepherds:
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”
Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)