Christmas reflections: Angels

Index of Christmas holiday posts

Family Activities

Giotto, Gabriel

Shown: Giotto, The Angel Gabriel

Read Luke 1.1 – 2.20.

In his first sentences, Luke announces that he has written a historical narrative attested by eye-witnesses. Nevertheless, Luke fills the first two chapters with angels! Angels are not just for fairy tales. Everywhere they are bringing God’s good tidings into the world.

As one reads Luke’s account, let everyone else hold trumpets (kazoos!) and blow them as loud as possible every time angels are mentioned.

Sing:

  • Angels we have heard on high
  • Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  • O Come, All ye Faithful
  • Angels from the Realms of Glory
  • It Came upon the Midnight Clear

Read about angels

  • Read aloud: Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw, WinterSong: Christmas Readings (Regent, 1996), pp. 37-48. This essay by Madeleine L’Engle makes a great family read-aloud.
  • Billy Graham, Angels: God’s Secret Agents (1975). This easy read combines compelling stories with biblical teaching about angels.
  • Background study: Thomas F. Torrance, “The Spiritual Relevance of Angels,” in J.I. Packer and Loren Wilkinson, eds., Alive to God: Studies in Spirituality (InterVarsity Press, 1992), pp. 122-139. This chapter offers a theology of angels in a nutshell.

Watch:

Watch two classic Christmas movies in which angels play a major role: It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Bishop’s Wife.

Talk:

  • What do angels do? What is their ministry to humans, according to the nativity accounts?
  • Both movies mix biblical teaching and angel folklore. Discuss.
  • Both movies emphasize the significance of the ministry of angels. Discuss.
  • Both movies emphasize the significance of persons. Discuss.
  • Both movies illustrate the idea that angels often “put ideas in people’s heads.” Discuss.
  • In both movies, people “entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). Discuss.
  • What would it be like to meet an angel? Do you know anyone who has seen an angel? If so, did the angel proclaim good news, or minister in some other way?
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