Tag Archives: angel

And Yet Change is at Hand

14. Out on the hills nearby, there lived some shepherdswho were looking after their sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared and said to the shepherds, “Don’t be scared. There is wonderful news. A Saviour has been born.”

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To be quite contradictory from yesterday’s thought, into the ordinariness of shepherding sheep news of something different – “a Saviour….born.” Is the challenge of the angel – “don’t be scared!” – because the visitation or because the message? An angel would be startling, but the message is momentous. God touching life in a fleshy way alters the game of life. Faith in God is born in a baby, go and see. The occasion will change you!

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Christ Be With Me.

6. Another angel visited Joseph inside a dream and said to him, “Mary’s baby will also be called ‘Emmanuel” this name means that God is with us.”

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All of this week has been about the breaking of God into our world. Joseph’s experience seals the event into a name. “God is with us” should be our middle name and our very nature. May your prayer be today:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

But like Joseph don’t just sit on the knowledge – be prepared.

Extra-Ordinary 

5. An angel, called Gabriel, came to visit Mary. He said to her, “You will have God’s baby, and will name him Jesus.”

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After the ordinary the extra-ordinary. To hope or expect the extra-ordinary is not really a modern state. We are far too practical and logical to expect God breaking into life in such a prominent way. Prophets and seers are held at sceptical arms length.

Yet those who constantly proclaim God’s Kingdom still live and breath in this generation. I am not talking about the shouters on street corners or those who announce God’s doom. Jesus spoke of cups of water given, children cared for and prisoners visited. Look for and practice generosity, caring and visiting – be a present day angel proclaiming Christ’s kingdom.

Who will I give, care for or visit today. Pray and act afterward.

“Do Not Be Afraid”

Sunday 21st December 2014

The words “Do not be afraid” are well used in the wider Christmas story. As the angel foretells the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah, those words “Do not be afraid” are proclaimed. Likewise Joseph encouraged to take Mary as his wife, “Do not be afraid” he is told. At the visitation to the shepherds after Christ’s birth, they are hailed with a cry of “Do not be afraid”. Then the most remarkable is the assurance to Mary as she is told she was to bear the baby called Jesus.

With the angel’s message comes a promise from God: a promise that Mary has found favour, her son will be called “the Son of the Most High” Mary is told her baby will be given the throne of King David and will reign over an endless kingdom for ever.

But God is coming into the world in a way that will make him accessible to all people, not as a mighty and powerful warrior king, not at the centre of earthly power, but weak, fragile and vulnerable as the newborn child of a poor couple.

We are so bombarded with the story at this time of year that we may forget to notice the immense courage and faith of Mary, a miracle in itself. Mary, in her darkest hour, hears God’s call and through her fear which must have been immense, said, “Yes!”

Even at this festive time, life can seem very dark and frightening, people have all kinds of concerns, from the economy and our health, loneliness and relationship problems, to war or terrorism. So now, more than ever, the message of the angel is enormously relevant.

Do not be afraid; believe, even in the face of supposedly insurmountable odds; have faith that we are not alone, for God himself will be born among us, not above us, mighty and powerful, but down on earth beside us. In all the clamour, listen for God’s call, “Do not be afraid” and be ready to see through your fear, responding with your own ‘Yes!’

Rev’d Canon Simon Moor, Vicar of Huddersfield Parish Church