We have a lot of symbols for Christmas, and honestly I feel that neither jingle bells, snowflakes or Santa Claus are adequate representations of, you know, the birth of God’s Son. Angels, however, are.
Angels play a huge role in the birth of Jesus. Massive, in fact. This is yet another reason I believe that people without charismatic experience or theology won’t get what the Gospel is all about. You cannot have Christmas without angels.
First of all, the angel Gabriel visits Mary to tell her that she will give a virgin birth to the Messiah (Lk 1:26-38). Then, he visits Joseph to ensure him that Mary has not been cheating but that the Holy Spirit has conceived the child (Mt 1:21). As the Son is born in Bethlehem, angels tell some nearby shepherds that the Messiah has been born, and sings a angelic song about glory to God and peace among men (Lk 2:8-15). After the visitation of the wise men (who surprisingly weren’t led by angels but just by a supernatural star and prophetic dreams) an angel tells Joseph that he must take his family to Egypt to escape Herod’s madness (Mt 2:13). And after some time, Joseph gets to know that it’s clear for him to go back to Israel by – you guessed it – an angel (Mt 2:19f.).
Basically, angels are involved in almost every event in the Christmas story. What do people do with that? Well, since many lack the experience of angelic visitations even within the church, even Christians try to remove them. They’re viewed as mythological ornaments or exotic phenomena without any relation or application to our own lives. I’ve heard Christians who argue that Biblical angels are not supernatural creatures, but since “angelos” means messenger, they were simply random people that brought messages from God… with the ability to fly up to heaven, I guess (Lk 2:15).
This modern form of saduceism (Acts 23:8) is only possible among Christians who haven’t met angels. And so I want to use this Christmas season to share a testimony of some angelic visitations that have received much attention in Scandinavia. Two years ago, a Pentecostal church in Finland released a video where the pastor interviewed a woman called Marita Mäntyniemi. She had been driving in her car and suddenly she saw that several other cars had stopped in the middle of the road. She looked to the side and among the trees was a giant angel. It had a prophetic message on its wings about revival for Finland, and it was massive! People bent their knees in the snow and were astonished by the vision.
Some time after this, another angel appeared in the same area, this time to a girl that wasn’t even Christian, Jenica Alanen. It stopped her in the middle of the road, it was gigantic and had a big sword. Jenica of course was terrified! She thought that she would die. The angel said “Repent, tomorrow is too late”, and then disappeared. This overwhelming experience made Jenica to give her life to Jesus.
You see; eating lots of food, giving presents and decorating your home are strange, abnormal Christmas phenomena. Meeting angels are natural ones that we should expect. Sadly, angels are not as emphasized in many churches as they should be, with the result that mainly New Age-people speak of them. But these amazing beings should be recognized as the servants of God they really are by the church. There’s no Christmas without angels.
Micael Grenholm is editor-in-chief for PCPJ. This was originally posted on his blog Holy Spirit Activism.
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