Christmas doesn’t exist without angels. But what was their experience of the whole thing? When Jesus left heaven did all of the angels lay hands on him and send him “out” like we commission people for a trip in our churches? Was there a goodbye party? How did he feel? How did they feel watching their God now becoming a baby? Did the angels follow Mary around as she was pregnant with their Lord? Did they know the whole plan? I was listening to a sermon about how Jesus gave up everything on the cross, and it struck me how much he had given up before the cross when he agreed to the plan to become a human child: going from being part of the Godhead, present during creation itself to a cold, dark world with pain, poverty and death; from being continually in the presence of perfect Love to being a helpless baby born in a barn; from being apart of the heavenly host to well earth.
This brings me to a question I’ve been pondering this advent season: how aware of God’s presence was Jesus on earth? Sure he was fully God but he was also fully man. Jesus was living the life we were created to live in the Garden of Eden, but he was doing it in a world that did not experience the corporate presence of God as Adam and Eve had. The Israelites knew about the Presence of God in the Temple. According to Exodus, they had experienced a cloud descend and fill the temple to be experienced only by those who entered the temple once a year. Now Jesus was saying that the Presence could be experienced by all of us individually and corporately. I think he knew God’s presence individually but did he remember the corporate worship, corporate tangible Presence?
I have been in a place where the presence of God was like a mist covering the room and the intensity of the Love of God was enough to make me want to die on the spot so as to be in Heaven with God. There is something about the corporate expectation of the Presence of God that is like…well like heaven. So as we read about the angels singing over baby Jesus this Christmas, I imagine Heaven breaking into earth, the Presence of God, not just for individuals but for all-together. And that is one of the points I think of Christmas. Jesus life and death was so that we could experience what the Angels are well aware of—heaven—here on earth—the presence and power of God here, now. So as we live in the here and now with all of the pain and joy that Christmas brings, my prayer this Christmas is for heaven to break into your and my days and for us to be aware of both God’s Presence and the angels that surround us. With that Merry Christmas from the Millikans, in Elie Scotland!