What You Don't Know About Christmas Angels

What role did the fallen angels have during Jesus' birth and how many angels sang to the shepherds? Learn more about the Christmas angels.

Have a question about angels? Email Bill Webber at*

Find Out: This December, I'm offering different insight into the role of angels in the story of Christmas.  Since the answers to the questions below are not found directly in the Gospel accounts of Christmas, I have taken what the Bible teaches about the nature and attributes of angels to offer my thoughts.

1. In the Bible, God’s holy angels appear five times in the Christmas story, more than any other time in the Scripture. But what about the “evil” or fallen angels? Did they do anything that first Christmas?

From the Book of Genesis through Revelation, we find Satan and the “evil” or fallen angels are continually at war with God and the holy angels. Satan did not want Jesus to be born so, of course, the fallen angels would have done everything to prevent the birth of Jesus. Yet angels are not omniscient, and depending on how quiet Gabriel's visitation was to Mary (Luke 1:26-38), the fallen angels could have been caught off guard. After Mary was pregnant with Jesus, the fallen angels may have begun a campaign of lies and hate. Certain events in the Bible story suggest the work of fallen angels.

For example, fallen angels probably tempted Joseph to doubt the story Mary told him of Gabriel’s visit so he would “put Mary away quietly” (Matthew 1:19-22). Joseph resisted this temptation only because God sent an angel to tell him, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” It was a different matter with the village gossips in Nazareth. No angels appeared to set them straight, and the fallen angels must have laughed when Mary’s neighbors embraced the temptation to tarnish her reputation and make life difficult for her.

Also, the fallen angels may have given Mary and Joseph a hard time on their journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-5), perhaps causing accidents in hopes of destroying Mary and her unborn child. If so, the fallen angels were no match for the guardian angels that protected Mary and Joseph. The struggle did not slow down their journey, even when there was no room in Bethlehem and God’s son had to be born in a barn (Luke 2:6-7). The evil ones probably laughed when Jesus was born in a manger, but God allowed beauty into the story of the savior’s birth.

No doubt Satan and his angels were also behind the scenes tempting King Herod to kill all the young children in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-17). God thwarted the sinister plot to kill Jesus by sending an angel to guide Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus (Matthew 2:13-15). Read more: Heralding the Christmas Angels

2. Do angels sing? Doesn’t Luke 2:13 say, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God…”?

Yes, angels sing. No doubt this was not the occasion for a verse-speaking choir but a most glorious heavenly harmony. Read more: Do Angels Sing?

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A Rustle of Angels
By Marilynn Carlson Webber and William D. Webber
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