Instruments of the Spirit

What’s the deal with angels and trumpets?

I guess I’d never thought of it much before. A couple of weeks ago we began decorating our Christmas tree and I was struck by the number of ornaments and figurines we have that are trumpeting angels. All of a sudden it hit me: why do angels play trumpets? And why is the image of trumpeting angels ubiquitous during the Advent season?

The only time we see trumpeting angels is in the bible’s depiction of the last days (Matt. 24:31; 1Thess. 4:16; Rev. 8:2). Surely then the presence of trumpeting angels during Advent is the church’s admonition that the season of Advent is both a remembrance of Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of his second. Thus, images of trumpeting angels are found alongside images of the wise men, shepherds, and the holy family.

But why do angels play trumpets anyway? Is there no other way an angelic being can get our attention? And who makes angelic trumpets? Is there some heavenly music shop I’m not aware of?

But maybe there is a spiritual meaning behind these musically-minded messengers. Trumpets, of course, are carefully crafted instruments that make a sound of proclamation when air is breathed into them.

Sound familiar?

The scriptures speak of humanity in the same way. We too are carefully crafted by our Heavenly Father. We too are created for the purpose of making a proclamation of the coming of the Lord. We too are breathed into by the Spirit of God and are kept alive by that same breath.

So you see, there are trumpets in the nativity story. We are the trumpets of God, the instruments of the Spirit created for holy proclamations. Angels appear to people throughout the Christmas story and tell them to go and tell the world that the savior is born. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men are all used as instruments by the Spirit of God to proclaim peace on earth and good will to all humanity. They responded faithfully to the message of angelic choirs and in so doing proclaimed for the world the song of its salvation, a song that we too are called to proclaim even today.

During this Advent season, how can you be an instrument of the Holy Spirit and proclaim the coming of the savior in your words and actions?

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