Guidance from Angels

While preparing for this Christmas season, let’s take a look at how we don’t need to be afraid of situations outside our ‘normal and how help often comes from unusual sources if we are open to receiving it. 

Elizabeth and Zechariah, a priest, were both righteous before God.  But they were without children because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.  While serving as a priest before God, Zechariah was chosen to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.   

While in the temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah.  What a glorious experience that must have been.  However, Zechariah was troubled by the angel of the Lord, and fear fell upon him.  But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,for he will be great before the Lord.  He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."   

Then Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this?  For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." The angel answered him, "I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news." 

The story of Elizabeth and Zechariah shows us that God's timing may not be the same as ours, but God will never lead us into something that He will not equip us for, thus providing experience we can share with others.  After all, sharing with others falls under all universities' societal mission. 

Luke chapter 1, verses 26 through 35, highlights another encounter of the angelic kind.  

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin's name was Mary.  28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you." 

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 , and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end." 

34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 

35 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[a] the Son of God. 

Christians are aware that Mary did indeed birth a son, named him Jesus, and in fact, He is the Son of God who reigns over all the peoples of the earth, and His kingdom will never end! 

Both of these excerpts from the Bible had Zechariah and Mary facing situations way outside of their ‘normal’.  Navigating academia can be way outside 'normal' for many of us.  While the staff at OCU aren't necessarily angels in the biblical sense, they can be great resources for guidance.  

All we must do is ask! 

This Christmas season, remember the real reason for the season.  Enjoy the jolly white-haired man in the red velvet suit who has eaten his fair share of cookies and fudge while traveling from home to home without GPS.  The takeaway is that we honor Mary's Son, Zechariah's nephew, John the Baptist's cousin, and David's descendant, this time of the year.  Jesus is the reason for the season. 

May God shine the light of his face upon you and your family this Christmas season. 

Merry Christmas to all!