Holidays bring reminders of ‘good tidings’

By Joan Clayton

The approaching holidays remind me of the angels who brought the “good tidings of great joy” to the shepherds in the field.

Many references about angels are found in the Bible. They can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. Angels are supernatural beings sent by God. They are God’s messengers. Psalm 91:11 states, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Angels are mentioned in the beloved Christmas carols that accompany this wonderful time of the year:

• “Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King!” (Charles Wesley 1739)

• “O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem! Come and behold Him, born the King of angels!” (John Francis Wade 1751).

• “It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old. From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.” (Edmund H. Sears 1849).

• “What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap sleeping: Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherd’s watch are keeping.” (William C. Dix 1865)

I know with certainty that our three lively boys kept their angels busy. I can recall instances in my life when I sensed angelic presence. It is a comfort to know there is a God who cares for us so much he sends angelic beings into our lives for protection and guidance.

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I marvel at God’s plan to redeem mankind. The enemy tried to throw obstacles all along the path of Jesus’ 33 years, but Jesus overcame triumphantly.

At this time of year, if no other time, the world hears about Jesus. Christmas is all about love and celebrating the birth of the one who frees the captive from the bondage of sin.

At this glorious time of year everyone seems happier as they say, “Merry Christmas.”

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could have that happy spirit all year? Why not?

It’s a celebration of the giver of life. Whether he was born at this time of the year or not is immaterial to me. I am just thankful God sent Jesus and that we celebrate his birth.

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“It’s a Wonderful Life” is my favorite movie of all time. In the movie, Jimmy Stewart’s superb acting depicts a man weighted down by many problems. He wished he had never been born. He gets his wish. His angel, “Clarence,” helped him see what he would have missed. He is permitted to see how his life would have been without his beloved wife and family. When the wish was reversed, his joy was immeasurable, because he was able to see the purpose of his life … to lose oneself in love for others.

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When I put the angel on top of our Christmas tree, I remember to thank God for the angels he sends to help us. We are so blessed.

When our youngest granddaughter was very small, we asked, “What makes us love you so? She responded, “I’m an angel!”

I thank God for all of my “earth” angels, too.

Joan Clayton is a retired teacher, writer and religion columnist living in Portales. E-mail her at: