“But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought [the apostles] out.” Acts 5:19
When missionary John Paton and his wife were surrounded by hostile islanders, they prayed through the night for God’s help. The next morning, they discovered the would-be attackers had fled. A year later they learned why. As the people prepared to attack, they realized the mission compound was surrounded by hundreds of men in shining garments with swords drawn. Only then did Paton and his wife realize that God had dispatched His angels to protect them.
That is certainly consistent with the description of angels in Hebrews 1:14: “ministering spirits” sent to help God’s people, especially in times of danger. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, had that experience. When he and Mary escaped Herod’s wrath by fleeing to Egypt with their baby, it was an angel who appeared to Joseph when it was safe for them to return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-20). Whether in person, in a dream or vision, or by way of circumstances, angels are ready to intervene on our behalf.
When we declare our belief in the Christmas story, we are declaring our belief that angels are real, and that they play an important role in God’s work. An angel visited the shepherds, and Joseph as well. Wise men received messages from heaven; visions and dreams were also part of how God communicated to those who played a key role in the Nativity story.
When you are about your Heavenly Fathers business and you need help, be aware of angelic hands that may reach out to lead you through your difficulty.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:1