Peace and goodwill in the season of angels

By: Patricia Stone-Butson - Contributing columnist

The year was 1986. My son, age 16, played tennis on the Hickory High School team and we were traveling to Statesville for a match. I allowed him to drive since it was a straight drive on I-40 from Hickory. My two-year-old nephew was asleep on the backseat. Suddenly, my son reached for a bottle of water and lost control of the car.

The next thing I remember is flipping in the air on the right side and then landing upside down on the left side of the road. We were stunned to awaken with our knees to our chests. My nephew, somehow, landed in my arms.

All windows were broken, but all three of us were unharmed. Silently, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving and crawled out through the broken window on my side. My son crawled through the broken window on the driver’s side and took my nephew.

Was it a coincidence that no cars were coming from either side of the road, or was it God’s “angels” protecting us?

The Bible refers to angels as “Sons of God,” “the holy ones,” and “God’s host.”

There are different ranks of celestial powers: the archangels, such as the angel Michael, who is the protector of God’s people. Then there are the angels who bear good news, such as the angel Gabriel who appears to Mary and Joseph and announces the good news that a child shall be born to them by the Holy Spirit, and his name will be called “Jesus,” meaning “God saves.”

Then, there are the cherubim, who are the guardians of holy places. Even the cherubim guarded the Tree of Life in the beginning of time as we read in Genesis 3:24.

So often when angels appear, their first words are: “Do not be afraid, the Lord is with you; arise and go forth, for I am with you.” (Matthew 1:20)

Angels do not stop to say hello; they just bring good news from God’s heavenly kingdom and prompt you to arise and take action.

We picture angels able to move with unlimited speed from place to place. That’s why we call our EMS workers, firemen and policemen “angels on earth” because they move very fast to get from place to place to help those in need.

(Thank you, earth angels.)

“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible.” (Colossians 1:16) Thus, I sincerely believe that the angels were with us on that summer afternoon in the year 1986.

One thing that I have learned in following the baby Jesus is that we do entertain angels unaware, for the do not draw attention to themselves by stopping to say hello. They just come, unannounced, with a brush of their wings on your shoulder or a whisper in your ear to prompt you to rise and take action as a messenger of goodwill to others.

Psalm 91:11 states: “God has given His angels charge over you, to guard you in all of your ways.”

Therefore, as we draw closer to Christmas, the season of angels, we know the sky is the limit, for there are angels to attend you, to guard you in all of your ways. Also, know that at the end of the age, angels will assist in the second coming of our Lord as we read from Matthew 13:41-43: “The Son of Man will send His angels…”

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace and good will to all men.”

The Rev. Patricia Stone-Butson is pastor of Gibson United Methodist Church.

Patricia Stone-Butson

Contributing columnist