After doing first person narratives at Christmastime for many years, I was running out of characters—the human variety, anyway. I wasn't about to portray a talking sheep, but what about an angel?
I drew my inspiration from 1 Peter 1:12, "Even angels long to look into these things." I was intrigued by the notion that the heavenly beings are in awe of God's redemptive love and plan for the human race. Telling the story from a heavenly perspective enabled me to explore the cosmic backstory of the incarnation that none of the historical characters could possibly have understood or articulated.
I have often found that first-person narratives are a painless way to cover the historical and cultural background that can sometimes get tedious or esoteric in a typical message. But with this character I found I could cover a lot of theology—the doctrines of angels and demons, the nature of humankind, the sovereignty of God, and, of course, the incarnation.
The challenge in any first-person narrative is staying in character and resisting the tendency to preach in a costume. Since most people have a limited theological understanding of angels, I wanted the congregation to understand that the content they were hearing was grounded in Scripture, so I opted to have the character read from a Bible that had been "left" on the pulpit.
The particular challenge of portraying an angel was to help the listeners identify with a fundamentally non-human character. I wanted to avoid putting human emotions on the character, but needed to have him articulate thoughts and responses that were both intriguing and authentic. It's always important to inject a bit of humor or light-hearted banter into these ...
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