“In the word of God, names are important. My name is Gabriel which means ‘The Lord is my strength.” In ancient days I and my brother Michael—his name means ‘there is no one like God’, but he is also known as a warrior angel—we appeared separately to the prophet Daniel, both as messengers of God. Daniel’s name means ‘God is my judge.’
Scrolls have a place of prominence in the Bible, not just that they are mentioned in many places in it, but that much of the Word of God was originally written on them. The book of the prophet Isaiah was written on a scroll, a scroll containing many prophesies of He Who is celebrated on this night.
A scroll has been placed before the representation of the manger throne and the Lamb who lies within. Soon the pastor, and others participating in the worship service, will be using it to transport this congregation back to Bible times.
Now for my story, which it thrills me to share:
But first, a brief word about Michael. Part of his assignment was to deliver a different, very special scroll to Daniel which the prophet was to roll up and seal until the end of time.
The message I was instructed to deliver, though cryptic in that day and this, spoke of the coming Messiah. Daniel recorded my message to all who would hear throughout the remainder of earth’s history.
A few hundred years later, I was blessed indeed to visit the priest Zechariah to deliver good news that he, in his old age, would shortly become a father. He did not believe my message and, as a consequence, was stricken with temporary muteness which would end with the naming of his son. His wife Elizabeth, though also advanced in years, did conceive. The child within her was so special he would be the first, even in his preborn state, to rejoice in being in the presence of the Lord.
Just a few months later, I was again blessed—why, my Lord God Almighty, should you choose to so bless me?—with the honor of being sent to Nazareth a town in Galilee to deliver the good news to its very first recipient. I would be telling Mary, a girl living there, that she was to be the mother of the Savior of the world. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about the message. Mary was so young! She was engaged but not yet married. What would be the ramifications of this with her espoused, indeed, with all who knew her?
But the Lord God Almighty sent me, giving me his strength.
Mary was at first troubled, not so much by my appearance, but by my greeting—that she was highly favored and the Lord was with her.
She questioned the logic of my message to her, not understanding how such a thing as conceiving the Savior of the world should be possible to her, a virgin.
I explained to her how this would be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
She had no further questions. She, as was her manner, quietly accepted the will of God. She was not, at this time, told of the things Jesus, and because of the intimacy of their relationship she, would suffer. When it was clear that Mary accepted this assignment, I departed.
In the fullness of time, first Elizabeth and then Mary delivered their babies, babies who had communed with joy in utero. A host of my brothers filled the heavens the night of the Savior’s birth testifying to the lowly shepherds below of his birth and its significance to all people and praising God the Father, saying ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’
This was the beginning of grace, that unearned gift available to every human, the means to deliverance from sin, sickness, and death. And I got to witness it!
Finally, in the fullness of time (and no one knows the exact date), one of us will be the angel who goes before He who sits on the throne. The King will have within His right hand a scroll with 7 seals. Could this be the same scroll that my brother Michael instructed the prophet Daniel to seal? The seals are such that no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth will be able to open them or even look inside the scroll. The angel will weep in despair.
But alas, the Lamb who appeared as though He had been slain, will take the scroll from He who sits on the throne. And it is revealed: only Jesus, Messiah, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll revealing all that is written within.
Tonight, we angels celebrate with the humans, made in God’s own image, the birth of Messiah.
Glory to God in the highest heaven. Messiah reign forever and ever amen.”
Genesis 1:26 Luke 2:8-14
Genesis 17:5 Ephesians 2:8
Daniel 9:21-27 Revelation 5:1-10
Daniel 12:4 Revelation 13:8
Luke 1:11-20, 26-38, 44