One night, not too long ago, after the dinner table had been cleared, the day’s tasks had been completed and my household was a quiet oasis of peace, I happened to notice how particularly spectacular the night sky appeared through my kitchen window. Taking a blanket outside to take a closer look, I found myself lying on the grass stargazing as I once had as a young girl.
Marveling at the beauty, vastness and splendor our God has created, my memory recalled a drawing I had seen as a little girl of the nativity night sky. The drawing depicted the three wise men, the shepherds in their fields, and an incredible sky full of stars that sparkled like diamonds and a host of heavenly angels proclaiming the good news.
I found myself humming that glorious Christmas carol, “Joy to the World!” and it was at that moment, I felt as though God was reminding me that His story, His glory, His splendor, His goodness, and His power were forever and always being celebrated in Heaven! “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing! Glory to the newborn King!” I could almost hear that band of Heavenly Hosts singing out in utter joy!
Yet, how frightened those shepherds must have initially been! Stop and think about that. Can you imagine an angel of the Lord appearing to you? Although we don’t know everything about angels, we do know one important detail about them: they were created to continuously serve and worship God. Any heavenly being specifically created to do such a glorious task must instill such a beautiful sense of peace at the very utterance of the phrase me phobou, “fear not.”
Gabriel, the archangel who played an integral part in the nativity story, is known as the messenger angel. When you see Gabriel make an appearance in the Bible, you know something special will follow! And Gabriel always spoke the Hebrew words me phobou or “fear not” before delivering his messages.
What does that say about our Heavenly Father? To me, it says that His message specifically intended for Mary or those shepherds, or for us today, is dripping with love and peace. He cares for us so deeply, yet we don’t always understand that message of love and peace. As humans, we just can’t seem to wrap our brains around how much He loves us and we automatically begin doubting ourselves and our ability to carry out the work He sets out for us. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the voice of God and His will for me, I begin to think of reasons as many as the stars as to why someone else might be a better choice..
I mean, I can only imagine the confusion, doubt and the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy Mary must have felt as she learned she would conceive the Son of God!
Yet, speaking words of reassurance and hope, Gabriel lovingly reminds Mary in Luke 1:37 that “nothing will be impossible with God.” Don’t you sometimes wish you had Gabriel or your very own angel to help relay God’s messages and offer comfort for your life?
God’s plan for our life may not be delivered by a heavenly host in today’s modern world, but His will for us, His incredible plans for us, they are still coming straight to us loud and clear! If you listen for His voice, you can hear Him deliver those same messages of intent and love He was delivering through Gabriel so very long ago.
It’s in the moments that catch me by surprise where I feel God is still speaking to us as audibly as through the archangel Gabriel himself. Like that night I sat staring up at the stars recounting the glorious birth of our precious Savior and He reminded me that His will for our lives may seem impossible and scary at first, but its intent is flooded with love, love, love. I am overwhelmed when He grabs my attention in such awe-inspiring ways to remind me of even the simplest of truths. I catch a glimpse of that childlike faith that used to come so naturally to me as a little girl.
I suppose that’s one of the reasons I decided to write my new children’s book, Gabby, God’s Little Angel, to teach and instill in our children early in life, through Gabby, a guardian angel in training, that we are never alone and acting out His will for our lives always comes with a message of peace, love and a lot of help from the unseen.
Teaching our children (and ourselves too I suppose) that like Mary on that fateful night Gabriel delivered the message that would change history forever, we too can hear and accept His plans for our lives and know that it is perfect. And yes that it comes with the glorious reassurance of Gabriel’s favorite line “fear not!”
Sheila Walsh is a gifted Women of Faith speaker and author of inspirational books including the recent God's Shelter for Your Storm (Thomas Nelson, 2011) and upcoming children's book, Gabby: God's Little Angel.