The Christmas Story as Told by the Angel Gabriel
Today we're continuing our Christmas Character Series. Sister Karen Jo Pandone provided the story, and Sister Holly Hemmings did the artwork.
I'd been hearing rumors that a big announcement was about to come out and that a very special messenger was going to get the assignment, but when I received word that my Heavenly Father wanted to see me, I had no idea that I would play such an important role.
"How can I serve you, Heavenly Father?" I asked. In response, He turned His mighty gaze from me to His Son, Jesus, who always sits on His right hand. Right then and there, I knew it was time, and my heart filled with excitement! With nods and smiles of reassurance from them both, I stretched out my elegant wings and soared toward earth.
I knew from past assignments that when God commands a message, He doesn't always give the details upfront. As I sped toward earth, I had no idea where to go, so I did what I'd always done before. I followed the little sparkle that appeared from time to time in my peripheral vision. It's the Holy Spirit. If I see the sparkle in the corner of my left eye, then I fly left. If I see it on the right, I fly right. This is how I knew the way.
After flying through deserts, mountains, and villages, the Holy Spirit led me to a little town. A very common town. This made me wonder whether or not I was in the right place because I expected something a little more, well, grand.
But my doubt melted away when I saw a young girl going about her daily chores covered in shimmering, sparkling light. Immediately, I recognized her as a virgin named Mary, a young woman espoused to Joseph the carpenter. The heavenly haze surrounding her told me she was the one who should receive the message.
I waited until she was alone, and then I said, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
I could tell right away that I'd frightened her, so I continued, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
The words flowed effortlessly from my mouth. Even though I hadn't been told what to say in advance, God's message poured out of me without a hitch.
Mary asked, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" A very good question! I saw that Mary wasn't asking out of unbelief. Maybe it was curiosity. Or concern for her fiancé. What should I tell her?
Again, my lips formed words I hadn't planned. These words reassured her that the child would be from God. Mary humbly replied, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
I wanted to tell her that they weren't my words but God's, but I felt a strange tug, and I sensed the sparkle of the Holy Spirit prodding me away. So, I left her and returned to my heavenly home. On my way back, I reflected on Mary and how she had taken the news. What an honor to have bestowed upon her! She wasn't a queen or the daughter of a high priest, but I knew her heart was pure and spotless. I knew Mary's future wouldn't be easy, but just as God guided me, the messenger, I knew He would guide her, the mother.
I thought my assignment was complete, but little did I know that God had more messages to deliver, again, to the most unlikely of people.