December 23, 2016 – Shauna Becker

Wouldn’t it be the greatest gift ever if an angel came to speak to you? According to the stories in the Bible, angels are amazing. They can be so shocking that people are scared when they first encounter an angel. I know a man who has had many encounters with angels in the last several years. When hearing about an angel in the present time, it seems like our first instinct is not only fear but also doubt. We hear the stories of angels in the Bible and we believe those stories, but angels here today are hard to imagine? Why is it in the present day that we have stopped looking for the greatest gifts? Not gifts that come from stores, not even great gifts of relationship with family and friends, but the greatest gifts, gifts that come from God.

Many years ago I went on a retreat. During the week I heard a speaker give a message that included her testimony. She had faced a medical condition that put her in a wheel chair for many months. As I watched and listened to the speaker I saw her face change. She still looked like herself but she seemed to almost transform before my eyes. She appeared younger and healthier. It came to me that I was seeing her through God’s eyes. Before she finished speaking I noticed a sound in the background that sounds like wind blowing in different directions and I saw what looked like butterfly wings on the wall behind her. Thousands of translucent wing fluttering. I felt very peaceful but also shocked and amazed. I had never seen anything like this before. I realized as she was finishing her talk that these weren’t butterflies but angels. Later that day I had the opportunity to speak with her and share with her what I had seen. She told me that a few other people had come up to her and told her that she looked different while she was talking and one other person had also seen angels behind her. She told me she had prayed that God would send a heavenly presence to be there during her talk. It was her belief that the angels were God’s way of answering her prayer. Although I have not seen angels again, I am so grateful for the experience. It was the greatest gift I ever gotten.

The story of that day is one that you would think I would be shouting from the roof tops. It was such a powerful experience and I do still share it, but it is odd how quickly the most incredible Godly encounters can become just a stitch woven into the quilt of life. No matter how fantastic a gift is, even a gift from God, that gift is one of a billion in this lifetime. Sharing the story of my greatest gift gives me the chance to experience the emotions and gratitude I felt that day. I believe this is why it is so moving and important to share in the Christmas story year after year. For all of us, the greatest gift came as a baby in a manger. We were not there to experience the first Christmas, but we are told by the angel Gabriel of a baby born in Bethlehem. Just as Christ opens his arms to receive us. We can take that Christ-child into our arms and welcome him into our lives anew.

Do not stop looking for the greatest gifts. God knows how to give good gifts to His children and we don’t have to doubt that we are God’s beloved children.

Dear God, Bless us with the greatest gifts this season. Remind us to look for all your bounty! Amen

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