An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (NIV)
Our culture, for the most part, gets angels all wrong. Try googling “angel”, like I did, and you’ll see what I mean. Cute, harp-toting, girly, and most definitely harmless. Even in the church, sometimes we get the wrong idea (maybe because of the adorable angels in our Christmas pageants). That’s not at all how they are in the Bible. Angels are strong, fearsome, masculine warriors. There’s a good reason the first thing an angel always says is, “Fear not,” – they’re terrifying.
That said, angels:
Bring good news (here, in Luke 2)
Bring food and comfort (to Elijah, in 1 Kings 19)
Protect God’s people (2 Kings 6)
and Worship God (Revelations 5)
They aren’t here for the purpose of terrifying us, but to do God’s will. They just scare people in the process.
I can understand the shepherds’ initial fear and confusion at the sight of an angelic host appearing before them in the night. In spite of their first reaction, they listened. They got the message. So should we.
~Gunnar Garrett (age 13)