Remember Tickle Me Elmo? Cabbage Patch Kids? The Furby? What do they have in common? Each rank among the twenty most popular Christmas gifts of all time. Also included on the list are familiar favorites such as Monopoly, the Nintendo Game Boy, and Wii.
We all delight in giving gifts at Christmas, but that’s nothing compared to God’s delight in giving the first Christmas gift. This gift came in the form of a baby, born in a Bethlehem manger (Luke 2:7).
Despite His humble birth, the Child’s arrival was proclaimed by an angel who declared, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (vv. 10–11). Following this magnificent news, a “heavenly host” appeared, “praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’” (vv. 13–14).
This Christmas, enjoy giving gifts to your loved ones, but never lose sight of the reason for the giving—the spectacular favor of God on His creation crystallized in the gift of His own Son to save us from our sin. We give because He gave. May we worship Him in gratitude!
Angels, God’s supernatural messengers, appear at interesting junctures in both of Luke’s writings—the gospel of Luke and Acts. Their activities surrounding the births of John and Jesus (Luke 1 and 2) are well known. Luke also noted that an angel appeared to strengthen Jesus when He was facing death (Luke 22:43). Women at Christ’s tomb saw a vision of angels who announced that He was alive (24:23). Two men in white robes in Acts 1:10–11 were likely angels. Angels were dispatched to release the apostles from prison (Acts 5:17–21); to give Philip traveling instructions (8:26); to give directions to Cornelius (10:1–8); to release Peter from prison (12:6–11); to execute judgment on a prideful ruler (12:23); and to encourage a wearied apostle Paul (27:23–26).