The Second Day: Morning
The God’s Special Christmas Angel: Daniel (1)
Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
Daniel 9:20, 21a
Read Daniel 9:20-27
Christmas has to do with the salvation of ordinary people—sinners. Christ came to Bethlehem so He could go to Calvary and there offer Himself as a substitute for those who would trust Him.
We have seen that the angels are keenly interested in this matter of salvation. Since Christmas has to do with salvation, it is legitimate to say angels are interested in Christmas.
It is not enough, however, only to say that angels are acutely interested in salvation. Their association with Christmas goes much farther than that. Angels were also deeply involved in announcing Christmas. An angel appeared to Joseph to announce that Mary would bear a Son who was to be named “Jesus” because He would “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). An angel appeared on the night Jesus was born to announce the good news to shepherds (Luke 2:9).
No angel was more engaged in announcing the birth of Christ than Gabriel. The Bible records four appearances of Gabriel—two in Daniel and two in Luke—and three of these appearances were to do with Christmas.
The first of Gabriel’s three Christmas appearances came almost five hundred years before Christmas became a reality. On this occasion he appeared to Daniel in Babylon (Dan. 9:20-27). Daniel had been reading the Scriptures to ascertain exactly when his people’s period of captivity in Babylon would come to an end. Suddenly Gabriel appeared and announced that he had come to give him understanding (Dan. 9:2,22).
Daniel, of course, expected to be given understanding on the matter with which he was occupied, that is, the end of his people’s captivity. But Gabriel came to give him insight into a far greater matter: the coming of Christ. In effect Gabriel was sent to Daniel to lift his eyes off the pressing issue of the present (the date of Israel’s release from captivity) to an event of far greater importance.
Gabriel’s second Christmas appearance was to Zacharias (Luke 1:5-20). On this occasion he announced the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, to Zacharias.
Six months after appearing to Zacharias, Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the forthcoming birth of the Savior (Luke 1:26-38).
The Christmas part of Gabriel’s appearances might well lead us to refer to him as “God’s Christmas angel.” On the other hand, the “announcing” part of these occasions has led some to refer to him as “God’s preaching angel.”
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