An Angel’s Story (Christmas)

“Gabriel.” Just the sound of my King’s voice stirred my heart. I left my post at the entryway and stepped into the throne room. To my left was the desk on which sat the Book of Life. Ahead of me was the throne of Almighty God. I entered the circle of unceasing Light, folded my wings before me to cover my face, and knelt before Him. “Yes, my Lord?”

“You have served the kingdom well. You are a noble messenger. Never have you flinched in duty. Never have you flagged in zeal.”

I bowed my head, basking in the words. “Whatever You ask, I’ll do a thousand times over, my King,” I promised.

“Of that, I have no doubt, dear messenger.” His voice assumed a solemnity I’d never heard Him use. “But your greatest work lies ahead of you. Your next assignment is to carry a gift to Earth. Behold.”

I lifted my eyes to see a necklace—a clear vial on a golden chain—dangling from His extended hand.

My Father spoke earnestly, “Though empty, this vial will soon contain My greatest gift.” …Handing me the necklace, He explained, “This vial will contain the essence of Myself; a Seed to be placed in the womb of a young girl. Her name is Mary. She lives among My chosen people. The fruit of the Seed is the Son of God. Take it to her.”

“But how will I know her?” I asked.

“Don’t worry. You will.”

I could not comprehend God’s plan, but my understanding was not essential. My obedience was. I lowered my head, and He draped the chain around my neck. Amazingly, the vial was no longer empty. It glowed with Light. “Jesus. Tell her to call My Son Jesus.”

The Father whispered to me. I heard Him as if at my side. “Go, Gabriel: go and tell Mary.”

On a wave of worship I flew, this time alone. I circled through the clouds and over the ground. Below me was the city where Mary was born. The Father was right; I knew her in an instant. Her heart had no shadow. Her soul was as pure
as any I’ve seen.

I made the final descent. “Mary.” I kept my voice low so as not to startle her.

She turned but saw nothing. Then I realized I was invisible to her. I waved my wings before my body and incarnated. She covered her face at the Light and shrank into the protection of the doorway.

“Don’t be afraid,” I urged.

The minute I spoke, she looked up toward the sky. Again I was amazed.

I praised my Father for His wisdom. Her heart is so flawless, so willing. “Greetings. God be with you.”

Her eyes widened, and she turned as if to run. “Mary, you have nothing to fear. You have found favor with God. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call His name Jesus. He will be great. He will be called the Son of the
Highest. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever—no end, ever, to His kingdom.”

Though she was listening, she was puzzled. “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

Before I spoke I looked up into the heavens. The Father was standing, giving me His blessing.

I continued, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God. Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

Mary looked at me, then up into the sky. For a long time she gazed into the blueness, so long that I, too, looked up. Did she see the angels? Did the heavens open? I do not know. But I do know when I looked back at her, she was smiling.

“Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”

As she spoke, a Light appeared in her womb.

The King walked over and reached for the book. He turned it toward Lucifer and commanded, “Come, Deceiver, read the name of the One who will call your bluff. Read the name of the One who will storm your gates.” Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word:

“Immanuel?” he muttered to himself, then spoke in a tone of disbelief. “God with us?” For the first time the hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. “No. Not even You would do that. Not even You would go so far.”

“You’ve never believed me, Satan.”

“But Immanuel? The plan is bizarre! You don’t know what it’s like on Earth! You don’t know how dark I’ve made it. It’s putrid. It’s evil. It’s…”


“But what of their sin?”

“I will bring mercy.”

“What of their death?”

“I will give life.”

Satan stood speechless.

God spoke, “I love my children. Love does not take away the beloved’s freedom. But love takes away fear. And Immanuel will leave behind a tribe of fearless children. They will not fear you or your hell.”

Satan stepped back at the thought. His retort was childish. “Th-th-they will too!”

“I will take away all sin. I will take away death. Without sin and without death, you have no power.”

Around and around in a circle Satan paced, clenching and unclenching his wiry fingers. When he finally stopped, he asked a question that even I was thinking. “Why? Why would You do this?”

The Father’s voice was deep and soft. “Because I love them.”

We were a wreath of Light around the stable, a necklace of diamonds around the structure. Every angel had been called from his post for the coming, even Michael. None doubted God would, but no know how He could, fulfill his promise.

I’ve heated the water!”

“No need to yell, Joseph I hear you fine.”

Mary would have heard had Joseph whispered. The stable was even smaller than Joseph had imagined but the innkeeper was right- it was clean. I started to clear out the sheep and cow, but Michael stopped me. “The Father wants all of creation to witness the moment.”

Mary cried out and gripped Joseph’s arm with one hand and a feed trough with the other. The thrust in her abdomen lifted her back, and she leaned forward.

“Is it time?” Joseph asked.

She shot back a glance, and he had his answer.

Within moments the Awaited One was born. I was privileged to have a position close to the couple, only a step behind Michael. We both gazed into the wrinkled face of the infant. Joseph had placed hay in a feed trough, giving Jesus his first bed.

All of God was in the infant. Light encircled His face and radiated from His tiny hands. The very glory I had witnessed in His throne room now burst through His skin.

I felt we should sing but did not know what. We had no song. We had no verse. We had never seen the sight of God in a baby. When God had made a star, our words had roared. When He had delivered His servants, our tongues had flown with praise. Before His throne, our songs never ended. But what do you sing to God in a feed trough?

In that moment a wonderful thing happened. As we looked at the baby Jesus, the darkness lifted. Not the darkness of the night, but the darkness of the mystery. Heaven’s enlightenment engulfed the legions.

Our minds were filled with the Truth we had never before known. We became aware for the first time of the Father’s plan to rescue those who bear His name.

These passages excerpted from:
© Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002, 2004
Max Lucado


The final chapter, from An Angel’s Story by Max Lucado
Also released under the title A Cosmic Christmas

Christmas is full of cozy thoughts: a sleeping Jesus, wide-eyed shepherds, a soft-faced Mary. The nativity sentiment is warm, the emotion is joy, and the feeling is peace. Such is the picture in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. In John’s Book of Revelation, however, he offers another perspective. From his perspective, the birth of Jesus stirs more than excitement; it stirs evil.

Pulling back the curtain of the skies, he reveals a bloody war in the heavens. John sees a woman, ready to give birth. He sees a dragon, ready to bring death. The woman is beautiful and the dragon ugly. The dragon lunges at the newborn child, but he is too late. The child and the mother are granted safety and then “there was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back” (Rev. 12:7 NIV).

“A war in heaven.” I’ve wondered about that war: when it occurred, who it involved, what it meant.

Cosmic Christmas is the result of those wonderings.

Several colleagues have stirred my imagination. Eugene Peterson stretched me through his study of the Book of Revelation, Reversed Thunder. Some time ago I read an article by Philip Yancey which broadened my thinking (“Cosmic Combat,” Christianity Today, December 12, 1994). I am indebted to the creative pen of David Lambert for his story, “Earthward, Earthward, Messenger Bright.” This piece, which appeared in the December, 1982 issue of Moody Monthly, offered a fresh, creative approach to the Christmas story. That approach sparked with this writer and led ultimately to the development of Cosmic Christmas.

I’m equally appreciative to Steve Green, Karen Hill, Liz Heaney and the wonderful team at Word for your incredible support.

Parts of Cosmic Christmas are fiction– fruits of my imagination. Other parts of the story, however, are true. Whether or not you like the fiction is insignificant. But whether or not you see the truth is essential.

Scripture, for example, says nothing of a vial containing the essence of Christ, an arch demon named Phlumar, an angel named Sophio, or several of the other characters and events about which you just read. Scripture is, however, very
clear that “our fight” is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world” (Eph. 6:12 NCV).

The Bible doesn’t refer to angels trapped in nets or Satan sweet-talking Gabriel. The Bible is clear, though, that Satan is real and his life purpose is to ‘be like God Most High” (Isa. 14:1-4).

God’s creation is divided into two camps: those who follow God and those who follow Satan. Satan is the energizing power of the unsaved (Eph. 2:2) and God is the energizing power of the saved (Phil. 2:15). The saved are to live aware of but not afraid of Satan. The devil prowls about as a lion looking for someone to devour (I Pet. 5:8). But the believer need not live in horror, because “greater is he who is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4 KJV). We must put on the armor of God to fight against “the devil’s evil tricks” (Eph. 6:11) and remember that Satan disguises himself as “an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:13).

Our weapons against Satan are the same as those used by Gabriel and the angelic army: prayer, praise, truth, and trust. We do not rely upon our own strength, but upon God’s. “So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest. On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stay strong. And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. Accept God’s salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times…” (Eph. 6:14-18).

Finally, the Bible tells no story of a throne room encounter where Lucifer is offered a second chance. But the Bible does contain page after page showing God giving grace to the scallywags and turncoats of the world. He seems more willing to give grace than we are to seek it. Such divine love leaves me to wonder one thing more: If the old snake himself sought mercy, wouldn’t he, too, find it where millions have—at the foot of the cross of Christ?

John’s description of the “war in the heavens” doesn’t answer all our questions, but it does answer the most important. He tells us who won. God did. He also tells us who matters. You do. Imagine, if God will fight such a fight to save you…He must really think you are worth the effort. Though we may wonder about the war that occurred, there is no need to wonder about His love…He really cares about His children.

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