The Peace That Angels Bring

The Peace That Angels Bring

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

Luke 1:26-31 (NRSVUE)

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:18-21 (NRSVUE)

The Shepherds and the Angels
Now in that same region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
   “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Luke 2:8-14 (NRSVUE)

I wonder, have you ever found yourself struggling with something and you don’t know which way to turn? Maybe you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, or holding onto plans and dreams of how you thought life would be. Perhaps you had plans, and they didn’t work out the way you thought they would. Or you feel like no matter which way you turn, you find yourself at a dead end. Or you feel lost on your journey through life. Well, the truth is we all face situations like that at one time or another and when we do, it never feels very good. Does it?

Well, we heard three scripture readings today, and in each situation, people were surprised, unsure, or afraid because of unexpected circumstances they faced. Scripture says Mary was perplexed and pondered many things. Joseph was trying to figure out how he could divorce Mary quietly. And the shepherds, they were simply terrified! Now, in each situation, an angel appeared. But, if you noticed, the angel never tried to fix or save the situation that the person was in. They simply met them where they were, encouraged them not to be afraid, and then shared with them information about what was about to happen.

Now, as human beings, we do not always know what is going to happen, like the angels did. But as people of faith, we know that the possibilities are endless. And we know that when we trust in God, amazing things can happen.

In our Advent daily devotionals this year, we are looking at simple acts of kindness–things that we can do that don’t have to cost money and don’t need to be planned way ahead of time. Because kindness is something that we can share anytime and anywhere. And the more we share it, the more it simply becomes a way of life for us. And as I’m sure you’ve heard before, the good news is every time you share kindness or joy with someone else, you can’t help but experience a little of it yourself!

Friends, throughout scripture, angels often show up during difficult times, bringing a sense of peace to those in need. They’re there when people are afraid or when they aren’t sure what to do next. And they bring a sense of peace by assuring the person that they are not alone. Every Advent, I try to think of ways that we can be Advent angels for others, bringing comfort and peace to the world around us. And this year, in my search, I found a children’s book that I think is brilliant! Because it points out how we as human beings sometimes try to help other people, but it then goes on to point out what people actually need. So, friends, I invite you to get comfy as we hear the story The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld,


I wonder, have you ever felt like Taylor, when something has gone wrong, and everybody comes in and tries to fix it for you? Sure, sometimes it’s nice to know that people care, but usually, we need to fix or at least process our situations on our own, and that’s not always easy to do. But, sometimes, in the midst of it, we need someone like the rabbit to meet us where we are, not to tell us how we should feel or what we should do, but someone who can just be there, someone who can listen, and someone who can give us the time and space we need to process our emotions on our own.

I find it interesting because did Rabbit need to have all the answers for Taylor? No. Did Rabbit need to fix Taylor’s situation? No. Did Rabbit need to push Taylor to make decisions and move forward? No. Rabbit just met Taylor where Taylor was. Rabbit made a warm, safe space for Taylor. And Rabbit simply listened, allowing Taylor to do the work that Taylor needed to do, just like the angels did for Mary and Joseph and the shepherds. They met them where they were. They helped them feel safe by assuring them that everything was going to be okay, and they gave them time and space to process what they had heard and what they were going to do next.

Friends in just a few moments, we are going to gather at the table that Jesus has set for us. Jesus meets us here, just as we are. He assures us that no matter who we are, where we have been, or what we have done, we are welcome here! Jesus assures us that this is a safe place to learn about and experience the mystery of our faith, processing and understanding it in our way.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, as you go out into our busy week ahead, think about the angels, about the rabbit, and about Jesus’ warm welcome. Then think about how you might be an Advent Angel, a warm, safe, listening rabbit, or a gift of an extravagant welcome for someone else meeting them where they are, holding a safe space for them, and simply listening, allowing them to find the peace and comfort they need.

My friends may it be so. Thanks be to God, Amen!


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