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"There appeared to him an angel...Zechariah was
troubled when he saw him." (see Luke 1:11-12)

Did your family have a Nativity scene in the front
yard, under your tree, or on a table? I remember
staring at the angel wondering what it will be like
to see one of these beautiful creatures face-to-face.
As Luke continues his account of the first
Christmas, Zechariah the priest is in the temple.
He's laying the incense on the altar. Suddenly,
through the clouds of smoke, an angel of the Lord
appears. But for Zechariah it isn't the wonderful,
thrilling scene I imagined-not at all. The aged priest
is struck with terror, shaken to the core.
As the Christmas story unfolds, we'll see angels
appear to Mary and to the shepherds, keeping
watch over their flocks by night. And both will have
this same reaction: one of being instantly filled with
terror. You and I would be too.
No matter how good a person you are, coming
face-to-face with the holiness of an angel shows
you your failings, and fills you with dread and fear.
How much more terrifying will it be to look into God's
face when He comes with His angels in great power
and glory to judge us on the Last Day?
That's one of the truly wonderful things about
Christmas. The promised Savior did not come as a
fearsome, mighty warrior to strike fear and terror into
each of us. Instead, He came as a tiny Baby lying in
a manger. He didn't come to terrify us; He came to
take away our sin and guilt and assure us of God's
love and forgiveness
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to
live among us and save us by Your perfect life, Your
innocent suffering and death, and Your glorious
resurrection. Calm my heart when I'm gripped with
fear, and fill me with peace and joy. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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