The True Miracles of Christmas: The Divine Role of Angels in the Birth of Jesus 

4th Sunday in Advent - 12/24/2023 | Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:8-14

The Role of the Angel Gabriel in the Birth of Jesus 

Luke's Account and Prophetic Revelations

Before and during the birth of Jesus, the role of angels is emphasized by the holy evangelist Luke. Luke recounts that the angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary to inform her that she would become the mother of the Son of God.

Gabriel had previously appeared to Daniel, giving him a vision of the Messiah. Gabriel appeared to the priest Zacharias, foretelling the birth of John, who would prepare the way for the Messiah.

Angels also play a central role in Luke's account of Jesus' birth. They announce to the shepherds that the Savior, the Messiah, has been born in Bethlehem. They fill the skies with their song of praise, "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace among men with whom he is pleased."

The True Miracles of Christmas 

Rediscovering the Angelic Messengers

It is no wonder that angels are such prominent figures in the observance of Christmas. They adorn tree ornaments, feature in front-yard displays, and are sought-after characters in Christmas pageants. Everyone wants to be an angel. Indeed, they are all little angels, right?

However, the messenger function of angels has been obscured by stories of miracles performed by angels. These miracles have overshadowed the miracle of the incarnation of the Son of God, from which the angels were originally entrusted to proclaim.

Today, the worldly concept of Christmas is rampant with supernatural tales and extraordinary stories, such as flying reindeer, snowmen that come alive, and mysterious Christmas gifts. Angel sightings are also a popular theme. But amidst these tales, the true miracles of Christmas can sometimes get lost.

Four Miracles of the First Christmas 

Angel Gabriel's Sighting, Virgin Conception, Incarnation, and Faith

The true season of miracles, the first Christmas, witnessed four miracles. These were the angel sighting, the virgin conception and birth, the incarnation of the Son of God, and the miracle of faith.

The angel Gabriel appeared in the insignificant village of Nazareth to deliver the message to Mary. Despite its size and significance, Nazareth became the setting for a divine encounter. Gabriel did not appear to the prominent women of Jerusalem but to a humble peasant girl named Mary.

Mary's faith is a miracle in itself. She accepted the angel's announcement with humility and responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me according to your word." Her faith in the miraculous conception and birth of the Son of God is a testament to the transformative power of God's word.

The Miracle of the Power of Faith 

Divine Creation and Restoration through Christmas Miracles 

Faith, in the context of the miracles of Christmas, cannot be accomplished by human effort. It is a divine creation, a miracle brought about by God's intervention. Left to our fallen nature, we would find it impossible to believe in the miracles of the virgin birth and the incarnation.

The angel Gabriel's words to Mary, "Not any word from God is impossible," remind us that nothing is impossible with God. God's power, grace, and person are not limited by time and space. He is not bound by the laws of nature. He is the creator of those laws. By His word, He brings into existence that which did not exist before.

The miraculous conception and the incarnation of the Son of God occurred through the word of God spoken to Mary. The faith that Mary exhibited was also a result of God's promise. Faith, as Holy Scripture confirms, comes by hearing the words of Christ or God. Through the angel's message, Mary's faith was created, enabling her to wholeheartedly embrace the angel's announcement.

Mary's faith played a significant role in the restoration of what had been lost through Eve's disobedience. The salvation of the human race was made possible through her obedient faith. As the second-century bishop Irenaeus of Lyons noted, "The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosened by the obedience of Mary."

True Miracles of Christmas Today

Divine Creations of Faith and Salvation in the Hearts of Believers

True miracles continue to occur every Christmas when the message of the good news of Jesus Christ is shared and proclaimed. Through that word, God works miraculously to bring about the birth of the Son of God in the hearts of those who hear and believe. This miracle of faith is a divine creation, a result of God's intervention in the lives of individuals.

Those who believe and rejoice in the Christ of Christmas are themselves miracles. They are as significant as the appearance of angels, the Virgin birth, the incarnation of the Son of God, and the faith of Mary.

Through faith, sinners can find peace in their relationship with God. Through faith, individuals are born anew by water and the Spirit, becoming children of God. Through faith, hearts can be filled with abundant joy in Christ, even amidst worldly troubles and challenges. Through faith, individuals can confess Jesus as their savior and God, defying the anti-Christian sentiment of the world.

The true miracles of Christmas are not limited to angelic beings or fictional characters. They occur in the hearts and lives of those who hear and believe in the message of Jesus Christ. The good news of Christmas is that salvation is offered through faith in the lowly virgin who gave birth to the Son of God. It is a miracle of divine grace that brings joy, peace, and righteousness to those who embrace it.

Rejoice in the Miracles of Christmas

Spreading the Gift of Faith and Salvation in Jesus Christ

As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember and rejoice in the miracles that occurred in Nazareth and Bethlehem long ago. Let us hold fast to the true miracles of Christmas and share the gift of the good news with others so that they, too, may experience the miracle of faith and find salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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