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An Encounter With An Angel of the Lord

December 23, 2009

Matthew 1:18-25 : Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

As I look out across society I am saddened by how commercial Christmas has become.  Christmas isn’t about bargains but a birth, it isn’t about gifts but the gift – the gift of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who was born so that I might have eternal life!

And what stands out for me in this passage is the role of the angel of the Lord.  The angel, literally meaning God’s messenger, who intervenes into the everyday life of Mary and Joseph and offers a direct message from God.. wow!  This event, this birth of Jesus that we remember at Christmas is no normal everyday event, this is God acting in our midst.

My wife Louise and I have just made friends with someone new to our neighbourhood who is what I like to call a pre-Christian (rather than non-Christian!), this past weekend her best friend (also pre-Christian) was walking across the road and was hit by a drunken driver.  She survived, but had both legs broken, and a range of other quite serious injuries.  She was also pregnant and sadly lost her baby.  Shocked by our new friends news we began praying for her.  Yesterday our friend shared the most amazing story, she described how while lying in bed, coping with the extreme pain of her multiple injuries, she felt a ‘peaceful comforting presence’, when sharing this with our new friend, she replied, ‘Well yes I am here to support you.’  ‘No’ responded the badly injured friend, ‘this is something else I have never experienced, something bigger.’  Our new friend then told her how Louise and I were Christians and had been praying for her!   The injured friend was amazed.

I believe that that presence she felt in the room with her was an angel of the Lord.  I encourage you to pray for her healing, both physically and emotionally. And please pray that she and our mutual friend might come to know Jesus Christ personally.

And this is what Christmas is about, Christmas is about remembering the moment our saviour Jesus Christ came to earth, why?  So that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

So I will enjoy the gifts on Christmas day, but the gift that will be my focus, and that Louise and I will communicate to our children and friends, is the wonderful gift of eternal life.

Praise God for His Son, Jesus Christ!!

God bless,

Rev Mark

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PS If you want to leave a comment click on ‘Comments’ below and scroll down.


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  1. Georgieanna Harp permalink

    Great article, very touching and oh so true! I shall be praying for these Pre-Christians! God Bless you!

  2. Bill permalink

    Amen brother.Prayer moves God,and God moves mountains!

  3. Right on Pastor Mark; right on. I parked at the mall this afternoon and as I was walking away this older lady came up to me and said “You look like a good person; can you help me?” She was looking for money for food and gifts for her grandchildren. I gave her a bottle of water, some peanutbutter crackers and peanuts which I always keep in my car for Homeless folks I see on the road. I gave her our church card for our food pantry and she thanked me profusely saying “God always points me to the right person.” What an exchange — I felt ten feet tall (though I’m only 4’11”). That is what Christmas giving should be about–doing the word of God. Merry Christmas.

  4. Rev. Mark,
    What a tragedy for your neighbor. I’m so sorry. The last couple weeks it seems that I hear of unexpected deaths occuring everyday. I will put her on my prayer list. I’m so glad that your neighbor has two wonderful people (you and your wife) to help her get through this difficult time. With this story, how does one celebrate Christmas? I know why I celebrate but if I were to lose a loved one during Christmas, I honestly don’t know if I could celebrate.

    Merry Christmas to you!!
    Michelle Meyer

    • I lost my son this year to a fire ,i know about 20 people who have died this year what is going on do you think this is a sign of Jesus return?

  5. Russel Hester permalink

    Praying for your friends… If we could all be motivated to pray for all the needs we see and hear of, just think of the miracles we would see!

  6. dorthy porter permalink

    I will be praying for your neighbors.As I entered a walmart this past weekend it was sad how rude the world has become in the celebrate of the greatest Birth of our savior ,alot of Christmas cards in America have lost total meaning they are about Santa not Jesus or even Merry Christmas a savior has been born.As I read the Christmas story this Christmas Eve,all at our house will know it is about the Christ child ,coming into a world to be born to take away our sin.I agree with you Mark it must sadden Jesus how people have became.

  7. Joseph Towry permalink

    This really speaks to me. Almost the entire month I have been talking to friends of mine about what they want for Christmas and I ask them what they really think of Christmas. A few friends didn’t even know it was related to Jesus. People seem to forget that if it wasn’t for Jesus even being born we wouldn’t have Christmas. I blame it all on our country for turning Christmas into a commercial celebration.

  8. Susan permalink

    Father thank you so much for placing Mark and his wife in the life of these pre-christians. Hold the lady in her loss and comfort her, but most importantly let Your presence be known to them that they may come to know You! Thank you Lord for the gift of Jesus you gave so lovingly to us! Lord may You be glorified!

  9. George Oertel permalink

    Dear Rev. Mark and Louise,
    Thank you for this moving post and I mean all of it !
    Will also pray for your neighbor. i too have always believed in angels of the Lord and miracles and will explain why in a separate email.
    Your faithful follower in Christ,
    George Oertel.

  10. Jennifer permalink

    Just goes to show that our saviour jesus christ is always by our side,whether we are christians of his faith or pre-christians.
    His mighty god works in wonderful ways,and i thank him every day for this wonderful world he has given us,and the gift of eternal life…
    My dad has been battling cancer this year,and through this terrible sickness i feel the holy spirit has touched his life in more ways than one. I think it is an amazing gift to have a close relationship to god and pray that many more get to have that opportunity.
    Happy holidays to all.

  11. Dutch permalink

    Amen to that Mark! Jesus is the reason for the season! Thank You God for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our sins. Praise Jesus, and His healing power! May we all have a merry, and Christ-filled Christmas and New Year!

  12. MaryMarthaKay permalink

    Rev. Mark … what a wonderful word for your journey deeper today. Praise God for you and your wife Louise that you both can be a light for your neighbor and her injured best friend (pre-Christians). I love that term! Pre- as in being prepared ! God’s light is working in their hearts as He prepares them and His word shall not return unto Him void.

    Some very KEY WORDS were mentioned:
    “Christmas isn’t about bargains but a birth”
    “it isn’t about gifts but the gift”
    “eternal life”
    the injured friend spoke of a “peaceful comforting presence”

    Christmas is not about the presents …. but is all about HIS PRESENCE.
    Emmanuel: GOD WITH US …. OH what an awesome PRESENCE !

    I encourage each of you to open your presents very slowly this Christmas; listen very quietly: can you hear HIM ? Can you feel HIS LOVE ? Can you feel HIS PRESENCE ? GOD IS WITH YOU ! HE IS LOVE!!! EMBRACE HIS PRESENCE ! May HIS PRESENCE seep through the atmosphere embracing every one of you ! May you receive His free gift: HIS PRESENCE … Jesus Christ !

    Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

    Psalm 95:1 ¶ O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
    2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
    3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

    1 JOHN 10 ¶ He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
    12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
    13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    14 ¶ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
    15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
    16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

    I’m praying for your new friends asking for eternal life according to 1 John 5:16.

    In HIS LOVE,
    Sharron Gray Atkinson

  13. Want some “SOLID (HARD) FOOD” for Christmas?

    The Christ, or the Savior of the World, is not the one born in the manger, i.e., “in the flesh”; but the upcoming one “firstborn in death”, i.e., on the cross as “life-giving Spirit” (John 6: 62-65).

    Only those who need a Savior desperately, will check the details out!

  14. oulyf permalink

    good day

    Like all the other posts i am truly glad that your friend has 2 true friends to gide an support her in this time.

    i would like to ask some advise today. Since April this year we go to a childrenshome/home of safety, and a 5 year girl visits us every weekend(her mom and dad are unaible to look after her and her brother), her brother visit us sometimes, and we are so glad because the lady of the house of safety said that the little girl wants to stay with us for December she does not want to go with the others to the coast for holiday(we live in South Africa)

    So between the aunts and the grandparents and the sad parents she does not know the right version, all that is printed into her little head is CHRISTMAS= PRESENTS

    So this is the first year that we have a child in our home for Christmas(me and my husband cannot have kids),so we are not used to the day to day questions that the little ones ask. The best advise we received is ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH.

    Yesterday she asked me about Chrismas and I told her that it is JESUS birthday and that we give gifts to each other to celebrate the day, but my husband told her that YES it is JESUS birthday but we may not give each other presents we must praise GOD and spend the day praising ,praying and celebrating to HIM. I asked him but the wisemen gave the baby JESUS presents, and again he said that yes they gave HIM presents.

    My question is to all the parents what must we tell the little girl?What do you tell your kids about Christmas?

    Like Rev Mark said Christmas is becomming commercial, I think very little people remember or want to remember the whole purpose of Christmas.

    thank you for all your articles I look forward to them every day


  15. debbie permalink

    Oh I will pray for your new friends! MERRY CHRISTMAS, brother Mark!
    I am blessed to have you as part of my life!
    I also read all the comments and they just ignite the flame even higher!

    much love,

  16. Mick permalink

    A great story, I pray that she makes a swift recovery.

    My brother in law is in hospital with brain tumour, he had a stroke and lost his sight and short term memory soon after surgery, the tumour could not be controlled he was not supposed to be with us past the end of August. He is still with us, but its a sad Christmas for all of us, most of all his young wife and two small children. Unfortunately they are not Christians and its hard to find the right words to support and comfort them.

    I hope that you can find prayers for them this Christmas.

    I have lived in Asia for a few years and for the most part there is no Christmas, only the material side, as wealthier people adopt the customs of the west. Christmas comes without any preparation and feels like without warning, but the up side is that one can choose how to spend their day. I have rarely had that opportunity in the west, everybody is full of expectations and there is some pressure to conform to them, wanting to spend the day alone reflecting on Jesus is extremely hard and one seems compelled to go with the flow. It begs the question how should one best spend the day to best do justice to the day and honor Jesus? To walk with God and remember his gift to us.

    • Michael Cook permalink

      I felt compelled to respond to your post. Jesus came not only to bring fellowship between us and the Father, but also between us as His children. Maybe there are other believers you may get together with to fellowship, exchange gifts and share God’s goodness. Just a thought.

  17. thank you mark, will be praying for your new friends and that they will no doublt see GOD’S LOVE in you and come to know CHRIST as you and the rest of us do. i have a young lady who lives down the road from me and a few months ago she lost her 4mo old baby girl and is struggling with clebrating this christmas season. please pray for jiliane, also thank you again for sharing your insight into GOD’S WORD. may your christmas and new year be richly blessed.

  18. hello mark i was reading this and i just cried i know god can move mountain and he can save the one we pray for i am also praying for lost love one as well and would love for other to pray for my lost love ones i know god can and well thank you so much for this touching story to and i have said a prayer for her as well as mine lost love ones and your new perchirstian friends as well we all need to pray for each others lost because the lord tells us in the word that where 2 come together in my name it shell be done god bless you brother mark love in jesus brothers cecil and jason burdette

    • Sherrie permalink

      I stand in agreement with you for the souls of our lost loved ones! I want the gift of Salvation to be theirs this Chrismas and for always! In Jesus’ Name, let it be!

  19. Sherrie permalink

    Christmas this year has really been a reality check for me. Last year I managed to give my grandchildren a teddy bear each that I had made them. This year, my husband and I have no money for gifts. At first this really hurt me, but not any more. When we can, they will recieve gifts. But “the gift” is for all eternity and I am reminded of that this year. I rejoice in the knowing that my grandchildren will still have gifts to open, and I rejoice that my children are all blessed with the things they need when so many arent. So, I’m no longer unhappy about the “things” I can’t give because I try to give the one TRUE GIFT of JESUS throught my faith and sharing His word with my family. Christmas is about Christ and I pray more of us Christians keep this in the front of our minds instead of the commercialism. I’m grateful for the reminder myself! MERRY CHRISTMAS<

    • Sherrie,
      you have given the best gift of all by giving the one True Gift of Jesus. And if you have the LOVE of Jesus you give Christmas every day of the year instead of just Christmas Day. God bless you for putting Christ in the life of your Grandchildren.

  20. Patsy Bond permalink

    Merry Christmas to all…..the gifts I enjoy most at christmas are the stories of miricles and those who come to Christ through there hardships and pain. If it wasn’t for the hard times I do believe a lot of folks would never enven consider Christ as an answer. So I am thankful for my own agony that keeps me close to God. If I dare to forget the tuff times I will repeat them over and over. I am human and have a strong will of my own that God has given me, but I do remember where I use to be without the Lord and I know, I am, where I am because of God, and only because of God. I find people are always trying to take credit for things that only God can do. I love the Lord with every human emotion possible. Merry Christmas and may you let the Lord walk with you always.

  21. Becki permalink

    Thank you Father God for our beautiful gift of Jesus!

  22. Kristi permalink

    WOW! That is a great testimony of the power of prayer. I pray for the presence of GOD for my grandparents (my church labels the elderly “First UP”). They too are pre-Christians and I pray they will experience Gods love before they go from this earth.

  23. Marilyn permalink

    Plz send this article 2 my email

  24. Marilyn permalink

    Thx 4 d reminder, we should remember d gift

  25. Jeremy permalink

    Pastor Mark I just want to thank you for what you do here on facebook. It is great to be able to read your posts daily because it helps build me up when the day isn’t so great. I will be praying for those pre-Christians as well!


  26. THELMA MAY SEDDON permalink

    Am glad for your comments today and truly Christmas is about the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and what His coming can bring about in our Lives. I have not heard about your wife, but glad to hear about her in what was written. Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

  27. lisa permalink

    you’r words have touched my heart in a really big way. on dec. 14, 2009 i lost my dad. for most that first christmas without dad would be very hard. i am at peace with loosing my dad but only because he very close to the end excepted christ in his heart. i know my daddy is in heaven now. merry christmas and happy new year to everyone. may god be with you and bless your hearts with love.

  28. Josh permalink

    Thank you

  29. Diane permalink

    christmas is commercial because it was never about the birth of Christ, it was and is about an ex pope named Nick, who was a jolly drunk. Santa mimics Jesus in many ways and it is wrong to perpetuate the myth that christmas is about the birth of Christ. As far as your “pre-Christian” friends are concerned, they should be aware of what comes visiting in the form of a spirit. I will pray that your new friends get saved, become born of the spirit. Why are you afraid to use the word SAVED? Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

  30. Cheryl Little permalink

    I will be praying for your new friends, for healing and salvation. I will also pray for this ministry that it will continue to spread the love and the words of Christ to millions across the globe. I hope you will have a happy new year!


  31. Nella Rogers permalink

    I need prayers for a job. I have an abusive stepfather that has sabatoged every job that I have gotten in recent years thus leaving me unemployed and a very screwed up employment history. Please pray I will finally get a job but that the abusive stepfather will not ruined a desperatly needed job for me.

  32. Sherrie permalink

    Nella, I pray with you to get a job asap! I’m wondering if you can get away from this stepfather? If not, can you call the police and see if they can get you to a shelter? I’m praying for him as well but you need to be safe! Please seek help someplace ok?
    “Father I ask you to keep Nella safe and help her find a job and a safe place to stay. I pray also for this stepfather to hear your voice and cease his abuse on Nella. Lord help this man get help also. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    • God be with you Nella. If you seek help you will be gently helped to live your life that God intended for you. I pray you will seek “Women in Crisis” for they help so many people to have a safe place to stay. I pray you will find a perfect job just for you without any hinderances from anybody.
      God bless you and keep you in HIS Care.

  33. sharon permalink

    Always want and need god in my life. Always want to get closer.

  34. Pastor Mark; what denomination are you? if I may please ask.

  35. Pastor Mark, I have enjoyed your website so much. It is a blessing.
    My husband, Don, and I have moved to FL and I pray for all my loved ones who are not seeking God’s face. I love my family and want God’s purpose for their life to come forth.
    Looking forward to another time to visit here.
    IN HIM

  36. Cathy Ireland permalink

    I blessed to stumble across this website, I don’t know how I found it. It was late at night, I read your blog and decided to bookmark it as a favorite. I look forward to reading more.

  37. Cathy Ireland permalink

    Please feel free to send me updates. Thank-you.

  38. Cathy Ireland permalink

    OK! I went into facebook and found you!! You are the Bible fan page, and you posted the fan page Praying People! Thank-you so much for your posts, they mean so much to people who are searching and looking other peoples wall, they come across things like this and stop in to read. Way to go!! Facebook is a great witnessing tool. Many people from my church are on facebook. We enjoy sharing the love and faith of Jesus Christ. Thank-you again for your posts.

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