Angels are a long-standing American religious fad. Just walk into any Christian bookstore and you’ll discover an entire section devoted to angels. It’s not just books about angels; you can also find angelic plaques, jewelry and other knickknacks. Readers of Guideposts magazine are treated to a regular diet of stories about angels. Some of them are about little cherubs which convey a sentiment. Other stories are personal claims of angelic intervention.
I have a file folder full of modern angel stories. One of my favorites is the account of angels singing when jungle missionaries Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Jim Elliot and Nate Sate were killed by members of the Waodani tribe (then known as Auca Indians) along the Curaray River in Ecuador on January 8, 1956. For those who are open to the possibility of angelic intervention, it’s a fascinating story and well-documented by the witnesses.
Frank Peretti was struggling to launch a career as a Christian writer in 1986 when he penned This Present Darkness, a novel about angels. It became a best seller. Apparently angel stories rock.
Whatever you might make of angel stories today, the Scriptures are full of angel stories. Angelic beings are mentioned 275 times in 34 of the 66 books in the Bible. The most familiar collection of angel stories in the Bible is found in the Christmas story. There are actually five separate angelic appearances in the account of Jesus’ birth by Matthew and Luke. We often overlook this fact. Instead we emphasize Joseph and Mary, shepherds and wise men, King Herod and the poor, maligned innkeeper.
This year I hope to have an angelic Christmas. I want to walk through the story of Jesus’ birth and celebrate the angels.