So I haven't really felt much of the "Christmas Spirit" this year. Probably for a variety of reasons--all of them my fault. I have felt it during a couple of the Christmas activities we've done with the kids, and briefly during a service project we did through work. I definitely felt it today while I was singing in the choir at church. The words of one of the songs meant a little more to me than in the past.
As my mind wandered during the Christmas song, I thought of the "glad tidings of great joy" the angels announced to the lowly sheperds anciently. Thinking of the coming of the promised Messiah as a babe in Bethlehem in hindsight, provides a very different perspective than the viewpoint of those who lived at the time of the Savior, or those who lived before His coming.
From the time of Adam and Eve, the prophets of the Old Testament had been taught from heaven about the future coming of a King who would one day deliver them from the bondage of physical and spiritual death. They in turn taught the people of their day that if they lived their lives in faith, relying on these promises, that one day, likely after their death, the promised Messiah would pay the price for their sins. They would be reliant on this Savior to allow them to rise again from the grave, and permit them to enter again into the presence of their Heavenly Father and live forever with their loved ones.
For those living in Judeah who believed in the words of these prophets, the words of the angels surely bought rejoicing and tears because everything they had believed was unfolding as they had been taught.
The angels themselves no doubt rejoiced in the message they had the privilege to deliver. Those angelic messengers were likely those who had already died, but had faithfully adhered to the teachings of their prophets--Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah. They died firm in the faith that this Savior would indeed make good on his promise to deliver them back to the presence of their Father and they were now but 33 years from this promised deliverance.
Perhaps some living in our day were also part of this Heavenly host--equally reliant on the merits, mercies, and love of the promised Savior and rejoicing in the ability to deliver the "glad tidings of great joy" to the inhabitants of the earth.