Now that Thanksgiving is behind us I plan on using this blog to focus our attention on the next big holiday, CHRISTMAS. No, not the… “I can’t find a parking spot at the mall” holiday. I mean the real day of remembrance of God coming to Earth in a form that doesn’t scare the ‘heeby-geebies’ out of us. (I know of only one person who was frightened by this little, cuddly baby… but, we’ll get to him, later)
The first player in this most incredible story isn’t a person, but an angel (yes, they are real. Trust me!). I can just imagine the scene in Heaven. The angels are getting quite bored by having no assignments dealing with people for over 400 years. Then, from out of nowhere God calls out. “Gabriel!”
Gabriel comes to immediate attention and stands before the Throne of God. “Yes Sir.”
“I have a message for you to deliver. Don’t delay. We need to start the program now!”
“You mean The Jesus Program? I’ve been wondering when that was going to be implemented. People are sure making a mess of the planet you made for them to live on. Do I get to appear in the sky and make a grand speech?” Gabriel sticks his chest out.
“There’s a priest in My Temple. His name is Zacharias. He will sire the forerunner. You must tell him.”
“The forerunner… yes, I forgot that part. What if he doesn’t want to take part? What is Plan B?” Gabriel shifts his weight to his left.
In the moment that it takes an angel to travel from Heaven to Earth Gabriel thought, “I know why people can’t understand God. I mean, I’ve been in His presence since angels were created, and I can’t comprehend how this whole thing happens. He gives them free will to do what they want, yet He has everything worked out to the smallest detail. Of course there’s no Plan B. What was I thinking?”
Six months after the first assignment Gabriel is again standing at attention receiving instructions. “There’s a young woman who will carry Me in her womb for the next nine months. She is My chosen vessel.”
“But, God… what if she says ‘No?’ Who will I go to then? The last time you sent me to Earth the man didn’t believe me. What is Pla…?”
Gabriel’s thoughts as he goes to Earth the second time could have been, “This must be some special girl for this assignment. Probably from one of the priestly lines, a prominent family in Jerusalem, well to do.” He’s surprised when he finds himself in front of a peasant girl in Nazareth saying, “Greetings highly favored one…”
A short time later God explains Gabriel’s third visit to him. “The man pledged to marry Mary needs reassurance that she is telling the truth.”
Gabriel swallows hard. “Yes, about this Joseph are you sure he’s the right man for the job? I’ve been watching him. He’s good with a hammer and saw, but shouldn’t the step-father of Your Son be a bit more educated? If he doesn’t want this responsibility who do I go to then? Besides, he’s asleep now.”
Gabe’s thoughts this time, “Of course Joseph is the right man. I must trust God in these matters. I haven’t used the dream approach since Daniel. This will be fun.”
The next time God hands out orders He’s smiling, “They must know My Son is born tonight! Now you can make your grand speech.”
Gabriel scratches his head, “But, its night. Almost everybody in Jerusalem is asleep, especially the Sanhedrin. Shall I light up the sky to awaken everybody?”
“Tell the shepherds near Bethlehem. They must be told. They will pass the news along. Now, GO! ALL OF YOU, GO!” God lets out a hearty laugh.
As Gabriel nears Earth he notices a new star beaming a ray straight to Bethlehem. He looks over his shoulder to see the host following. “Shepherds…? The lowest class in the world according to most people. Why…? Never mind, we have our orders.”
A couple of years later God tells Gabriel, “the three men from the East must not go back to Herod. Tell them to take another route.”
Gabriel nods, “Yes, I admire the way they showed their gratitude to You by giving gifts. But, won’t somebody steal them from Joseph and Mary as soon as they find out what they have?”
“I don’t know why I question God. He has this all worked out. After all, this is His story.”
The following night Gabriel hears, “Joseph must take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Now! No delays!”
As Gabriel flies to Earth he thinks, “How are they going to afford travel to Egypt? They’re such poor people.” He slaps his palm to his forehead. “Of course… the gifts. I don’t need to know how. Just do your job, Gabriel.”
It’s important to remember that the role of the Holy Spirit has changed tremendously since Jesus fulfilled all that was laid out in the Old Testament. God seldom uses angels to talk to people anymore. It’s now our job to present God’s gift of eternal life to a dying world. The Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of the chosen ones who are going to respond, but we must give the Spirit something to work with.
Yes, it’s you and I who are called upon to tell of God’s love and forgiveness to hurting souls around us. How we do that is as varied as the personalities we each carry. Start with gestures of kindness in times of need. A simple invitation to church could be just the event that turns another life around.
That’s why I write what I do. I never know when something I send into the blogosphere will touch somebody in a way that sends them on a deeper search for truth. A magazine article I get published could cause a family to adopt an orphained child into the family of God.
Just like Gabriel, we, too must go when we’re given our assignment.
I’ll see you later. Wade