Archangel Gabriel and the Birth of Christ
No angel figures more prominently in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ than the Archangel Gabriel. The name Gabriel in Hebrew means “Man of God”. It has also been translated as the “Strength/Power of God”. This archangel has also been called the leader of the heavenly hosts. Gabriel was the archangel who told the Theotokos that she would bear the Christ child. For this reason Gabriel is the considered the announcer of the salvation of mankind.
Here are the wonderful ways that Archangel Gabriel was associated with the Birth of Christ:
When the Virgin Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, had been married 50 years and had not been blessed with a child, they prayed to God for such a gift. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them and he gave them news of the birth of “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.” Each of them promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. When they saw one another, they embraced. This image is the traditional icon of their feast day.
Joseph was betrothed to Mary. When he found out she was with child, he quietly planned to divorce her. The Archangel Gabriel came to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 20-21)
It was also the Archangel Gabriel who came to the shepherds in the field the night of Christ’s birth. Thus, he delivered the message of salvation to humanity and announced this great news by blowing a trumpet.
Gabriel is often depicted in icons wearing white or blue garments. He can be holding a lily, a trumpet, a shining lantern, or a branch given to him by the holy Theotokos. Sometimes he will have a spear in his right hand and a mirror in his left, made of Jasper and with an X on it. The X represents the first letter of Jesus’ name.
Archangel Gabriel has special meaning to me. My father, Michael, passed away 19 years ago. A few years after his passing, my daughter, Michelene, was pregnant. We welcomed my grandson, Gavin, on April 7, 2001. His godmother, Paula, conferred with our priest, and they gave Gavin the baptismal name of Gabriel. I love that the Archangels Michael and Gabriel are on the entrances to the doors of our altar. This is a wonderful sign to me that my father continues to watch over all of us and especially my grandson.
Information Source: Orthodox Wiki
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