The more I study Christmas, the more I am convinced of the need to understand, in some way, what the shepherds saw and heard as they watched their fields by night. This understanding just might deepen our appreciation for the gift given to man that Christmas night.
Luke records, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:8–9, KJV-BRG). Angels have frightened many in the Bible as their presence is a move from their invisible fourth dimension to man’s visible third dimension. The shepherds are no different. On a quiet, starlit night, one angel suddenly appeared, which was frightful enough. But then, as this angel spoke of a Savior born right then in the city of David, a multitude of angels appeared in the sky to proclaim the birth in flesh of the Son of God. Now, how much more frightful would that be? How many angels did the shepherds see? What was the magnitude of the angels as “heavenly hosts” in the sky?
Job records that angels praised and sang as creation came to be: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7, KJV-BRG). All the angels were in attendance to praise God’s work of creation—not some, but all! Revelation states how many angels could possibly sing at one time with the number found in Revelation 5: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11, KJV-BRG). The number 10k squared is 100 million, and to multiply by just 1k the number of angels jumps to 100 billion. The magnitude of angels is great and beyond our comprehension! So, how many angels were present for the birth of Jesus? Hebrews 1 gives the answer—all of them! “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:5–6, KJV-BRG).
This is the magnitude of angels on Christmas night. No small celebration here, no small choir! God did not send just a remnant of hosts to the birth of His Son. God sent ALL of his angels to witness, to sing, to proclaim, and to worship Christ, the Lord, born on Christmas Day! I hazard that not an angel was left in heaven, for they all came to Bethlehem that night and filled the sky with wonder and splendor and glory to celebrate and to give their praise, for the beginning of man’s long-awaited redemption was now present on earth. Angels knew this day was coming from the many prophecies given to the prophets of old. Now, the day was here; Christmas Day had come! Just as all the angels had attended heaven’s ceremony for the birth of creation, all the angels attended earth’s ceremony for the birth of the Creator—the Word made flesh! (For a third and last time, all angels will attend the future ceremony for the birth of a new heaven and a new earth made by the Alpha and the Omega!)