“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 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.” Luke 2.13-15
Angels appear all throughout the Christmas story. One angel appears repeatedly and is named Gabriel. Yet when the angelic host appears to the shepherds the night of the birth of the Messiah, the Bible calls them a “heavenly host.”
One commentator says this about how many angels appeared during this time – “So how many were there on that fateful night? A full fledged “army.” The Greek says, στρατιά,n or stratia with Saint Jerome using the Latin word militia. Both words refer to an “army.” The word previous to army is multidudo in Latin (multitude, great number, crowd) and πλῆθος or plethos in Greek (a great number). All the words used are general, but they do give us a sense.” (https://www.philipkosloski.com/how-many-angels-did-the-shepherds-see-on-christmas-day/)
Angels do not materialize on a whim, they show up on purpose. They emerge to declare God’s magnificence, God’s plan, God’s ways. And when they appear they typically have to tell the humans not to be afraid. (And if you google, descriptions of angels in the Bible, you will get all kinds of wild and bizarre images.)
So how many angels were on that joyous night so many years ago? Enough to give God glory and to point to the arrival of God’s best gift ever — Jesus.
Today on Christmas Eve, we are even closer to the birth of the Messiah. The One who will save the world from their sins. Let’s join the angels in celebrating his arrival so that the world might know the peace of the Prince of Peace who has entered into the world.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for joining humanity and redeeming a lost people. For your love and grace, we give you praise. Come now, Holy Spirit, upon this high and holy day — a day when the angels sang – ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen