An Army for Christmas

We have been told that a heavenly choir sang the news of Jesus’ Birth. We have been misled. On that first Christmas night there is no record of any singing or of any choir. A close look at the biblical account reveals something even more amazing.

On the night long ago, on a hillside outside of the small town of Bethlehem a group of shepherds watched over there sheep. Their mood went from quiet supervision to overpowering fear in an instant as a light brighter than any they had seen enveloped them and out of nowhere and stood before them. The angel told them not to be afraid, for he was bringing “good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Then things got REALLY crazy, for “suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host.” The word “multitude” implies a very large number, or a crowd. The word “host” is filled with meaning, as it may also translated as “army”! Right, there on the hillside in front of the shepherds, was the army of heaven. This angelic army is not mentioned frequently in scripture, but the descriptions we are given (found in 2 Kings 6 and in Revelation 20) make it clear that it is indeed a mighty army, and that it will be the means by which God executes His judgment.

What was this heavenly army doing on a hill outside Bethlehem? Why were they the ones proclaiming the birth of Messiah? There is profound meaning in their presence. They are the army of God, those who will one day be the agents of God’s wrath poured out on sinful man. Wrath is indeed what all men deserve, for all have rebelled against God and His plan. But on this night, this powerful army does not come to do battle or wage war. On this night they lay down their weapons and announce the birth of the One who will deliver men from the punishment they deserve, the One who will one day take this wrath upon Himself. On this night, the army proclaims “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Amazing. God, for His own glory and at His pleasure, provided the means through which rebellious men could find peace. He provided a Savior, born in a stable, Christ the Lord.

-          Bart