by Lori Richey
Throughout the Nativity story, angels act as guides and messengers, harbingers of doom and purveyors of peace. They bring the word of God to Joseph, to Mary, to shepherds in the field. The angel Gabriel shares wisdom with Mary as she wonders how a virgin will bring God’s son into the world:
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
And in Matthew 2:1-12, mysterious magi come from the east to worship the newborn baby. Led only by a star in the sky, these men come a long way, bearing gifts fit for a King. Assumed to be educated by the fact that they could interpret the constellations to guide them, the Wise Men play their part in finding the baby, proclaiming the Good News, and staying faithful to God by not delivering him into the hands of Herod.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:11-12
How are we led each day by angels and magi among us? Who warns us when danger is near, coaches us when we need a mentor, reminds us that God finds favor with us? As much as youth workers are called to walk with youth and their families on a daily basis, we have great need of angels and wise men (and women) in our own lives. Youth worker friends who share best practices from their own ministry. Wise teachers/speakers/leaders at a youth ministry conference or class. Senior and associate pastors who collaborate on a lesson or class. A parent who sends a text of encouragement on a rough day. A youth who seeks you out in the halls at church and bestows a gift of a picture they’ve drawn or a song they’ve written. These messengers of faith, love, and hope are gifts to us each day – it’s up to us to recognize their presence and follow where they lead.
Who are your go-to people for questions about Scripture? Lesson planning? Group games?
Take a moment today to thank God for the angels and magi in your life.