The Christmas Angel of Glad Tidings is a magnificent solid bronze depiction of the angel Gabriel announcing the good news – the “glad tidings” – to shepherds tending their flocks in the fields that the Messiah has just been born in Bethlehem. This exquisite bronze angel bears the banner of “glad tidings.” In many depictions of the Nativity, the words of the chorus of angels are legible in Latin on the Christmas angel’s banner:
Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax [hominibus bonae voluntatis].
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth [to those of good will].
The Christmas Angel of Glad Tidings is indeed a most fitting gift to celebrate the “Reason for the season” — the birth of the Messiah, the birth of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Eternal Word (Logos) of God uttered definitively and irrevocably into our human history and universe as a small baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
“Made in Germany” – Mark of Excellence
This beautiful bronze plaque was made in Germany. “Made in Germany” is a guarantee of value and quality. Consider but the many German companies known and appreciated worldwide for the compelling quality of their engineering and products: BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Siemens, Bosch, Miele, Zeiss, the list goes on and on. Creator Mundi imports from the spiritual and religious equivalent of these companies in Germany, where quality of workmanship, nobility of composition, aesthetic brilliance, and theological depth hold sway in every gift item created and crafted.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you glad tidings that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Angels: Heralds of Peace and Glad Tidings
The angel (ἄγγελος—ángelos—Greek for “messenger”) is the “messenger” of the Divine. In his classic Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton asserts that “angels can fly, because they can take themselves lightly.” So angels can fly, and sing and stand watch. But angels also can herald peace and announce glad tidings!
God the Creator Mundi—the Creator of the World—has no need of angels, archangels, guardian angels, or, for that matter, of any creature of any sort. Yet in God’s inscrutable wisdom, God nevertheless wills that angels exist in creation. God has assigned angels a special place in the hierarchy of all being: they are below God, but above human beings. Like God, angels exist above human beings, for they are, like God, pure spirits, not limited by time or space in our universe. Like human beings, however, angels do think, imagine and love. Moreover, angels are, like human beings, below God, since they are not omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. The Doctor Angelicus of the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, asserts that there is a nine-level hierarchy of heavenly beings within the great hierarchy of being: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. Angels are at the bottom (ninth) in this heavenly hierarchy, but they are nevertheless first for many who ask for and welcome their message of peace and glad tidings.