So if angels aren’t fluffy-winged, cherubic, baby-faced and cuddly what are they like? What does the Bible say angels look and act like?
The Bible first shows us angels in the Book of Genesis as we see an angel stationed at the Garden of Eden preventing Adam and Eve from entering after they had sinned. We see them again as they visited Abraham and Sarah and later as they rescued Lot. They visited the earth in Joshua, the history books of the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah and certainly in the Christmas accounts. Angels are present in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts and we see them mentioned in Hebrews and finally around the throne of the Lamb in Revelation.
So literally, all throughout the Bible angels are present. However, they do not always look or act like we think they would. Several places in the Bible they are presented as terrifying in appearance; glorious to the point that people were tempted to worship them as though they were God. Sometimes they appeared as men; their terrifying visage somehow hidden.
But nowhere do we see where they look like the depictions of angels we often see in our art and fiction and media. We have borrowed those images from another era and other cultures.
In the Bible, the angels have one mission… one purpose… one focus. The word “angel” means “messenger.” They deliver God’s messages to people. The angel Gabriel plays a role individually in the Christmas story, particularly as Luke’s account tells it. Gabriel announced the plan of God to Mary concerning the birth of Jesus.
And together, on Christmas night, the angels announced to terrified shepherds on a Galilean hillside that “unto you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord!” Together they rejoiced to tell God’s salvation plan to the unlikeliest of recipients.
We can’t tell the story of the birth of Christ without meeting angels in the telling. And one day, an angel will announce the Second Coming of Christ as “the voice of the archangel” shouts His coming again!
FOR MEDITATION: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Luke 2:10
FOR REFLECTION: Quick! How many Christmas carols can you name that have angels mentioned in them?