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by Phil Ware
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 Bibles 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 Gods 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 Gods mysterious and wondrous work of forming each of them in their mothers 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 Gods grace that come to us in surprising packages.
Rarely does a Sunday go by that Im not touched by Gods never-ceasing reminders through these angels. Joels smile and high fives make my morning, especially those hard and frantic mornings when everyone seems to be complaining about something. Sidneys exuberant curiosity and sense of wonder reminds me that each Sunday is a special and new day full of surprises to be discovered. Tims 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. Adams loud and excited exclamation when he sees me, along with his clapping at me when I dont see him, help me know Im loved, and that my presence is important, but not as important as my validating the presence of others. Williams shouts of Jesus! and Amen! and boisterous singing remind me how Im supposed to worship our Father with unabashed joy and love without worrying how others may perceive it.
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 Gods examples to us, and we lose our sense of wonder and appreciation for Gods angels of grace. We dont 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 Lords 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)
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: September 22, 2003
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