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by Phil Ware

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Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

    One of the great themes of the Bible revolves around the birth of children. Over and over and over again, God rekindles the hopes of people through the birth of a child. Even from the earliest chapters of the Bible’s story, the promised birth of a child gives hope to a fallen world. (Genesis 3:15) This hope, this promise was repeated again and again throughout the Bible story. Of course, we know the greatest of these anticipated celebrations revolved around the birth of God’s promised Savior, Christ the Lord.

    For God, children are angels of grace. Not angels in the way we caricature angels — halos and glow in the dark wings — but in their most basic sense. An angel is a messenger from God. (The word “angel” actually means messenger!) And every child, from the moment of conception and God’s mysterious and wondrous work of forming each of them in their mother’s womb, is a messenger of his grace. (See Psalm 139:13-16)

    Around our church family, we have some angels who will never “outgrow their wings.” They are precious, but sometimes challenging carriers of his grace. Some of those challenges are physical. Some of those challenges are intellectual. Some involve both challenges. In all these cases, the challenges will never be completely overcome in this life. Yet every one of these children are angels of grace — they are messengers and examples of God’s grace that come to us in surprising packages.

    Rarely does a Sunday go by that I’m not touched by God’s never-ceasing reminders through these angels. Joel’s smile and high fives make my morning, especially those hard and frantic mornings when everyone seems to be complaining about something. Sidney’s exuberant curiosity and sense of wonder reminds me that each Sunday is a special and new day full of surprises to be discovered. Tim’s fascination with “Ninja Turtles,” snap of the fingers to get attention, and his loving cries of “bobbie” when he sees his younger sister remind me to never take a single thing or a single person for granted. Adam’s loud and excited exclamation when he sees me, along with his clapping at me when I don’t see him, help me know I’m loved, and that my presence is important, but not as important as my validating the presence of others. William’s shouts of “Jesus!” and “Amen!” and boisterous singing remind me how I’m supposed to worship our Father with unabashed joy and love without worrying how others may perceive it.

Each of these children is an angel of grace...
    Each of these children is an angel of grace — a messenger sent from heaven to teach me something about God’s life. Yes, there are incredible challenges in raising them. Their parents and siblings have their tough days and unique set of problems. This is a tough and sometimes tired love, because “angels” can often be demanding without intending to be. Yet all of them love their angels with a special love that is hard to explain or define, but is easy to see and appreciate. Something in these “angels” has called these families to their better selves and a higher grace.

    We live in a world where kids are no longer allowed to be children. They are pushed to compete, achieve, and attain before they even enter school. Fashions, along with many parents, put them in adult style clothes and expose them to adult information way too early for their emotional and spiritual development. The excesses of Western culture and the loss of close family structures often lead children to be spoiled and pampered rather than being loved and nurtured. Mix that with a well-intentioned, but flawed, theology that imposes on them the sin of the fallen Adam rather than believing the declaration of the New Adam (Jesus Christ) that they are God’s examples to us, and we lose our sense of wonder and appreciation for God’s angels of grace. We don’t watch and listen for our cues to follow their examples of love, wonder, joy, forgiveness, grace, tenderness, openness, genuineness, and humility. What a shame ... what a loss ... to us.

    For many years, I had on the back of my door a poster that said: “To see through the eyes of a child; the hope, the joy, the wonder!” This week, I hope the Lord will help you pause and see his angels of grace — and in your pausing, I hope he will also call you to a higher character and a deeper sense of wonder of both his angels and his grace.

Now there was a man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem. He was a righteous man and very devout. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God ... (Luke 2:25-28)

One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:15-17)

 
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      Title: ""
      Author: Phil Ware
      Publication Date: September 22, 2003


 
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