What I am about to tell you may sound unbelievable.
To be honest, I couldn’t believe it myself.
I cannot count the number of Christmas Eve services I have led during my ministry. This particular experience happened after one of those services some years ago.
It was 12.30 in the morning. The midnight service had finished and people had left the church. I was locking up when I suddenly heard a noise at the front door, so I walked over. Standing by the door was a young man. I told him that he had missed the midnight service. All he said was that he had come to bless me.
I was puzzled. He was wearing trousers and a jacket. His shoes looked like they were sandals - not the kind of attire for a night like this. Outside it was cold and the snow had been falling heavily over the church car park.
Looking at the weather, I said, “Wait there and I’ll drive you home”. I turned to lock the office door, which was next to the main door of the church. I think I was still talking, saying something along the lines of, “You’ve not got a coat...you’ll freeze to death”. When I turned to face him, he had gone. It was just a matter of seconds. So I rushed out into the car park to see where he had gone, however, there were no footprints on the virgin snow. The car park was covered with a blanket of the white stuff.
I thought to myself “Where did he go? Where are his footprints?”
I locked the church, got into my car and managed to get out without getting stuck in the snow.
It was then, as I was driving home that I felt a warm feeling in my heart.
I started to laugh. The car seemed to be filled with a strange peace.
When I arrived home, my wife Heather was putting the finishing touches to our Christmas lunch for later that day.
“Heather, I think I’ve met an angel.”
She could see by my face that something had happened to me.
So did I really meet an angel? I think I did. I believe in heavenly visitors, and the Christmas narrative is full of them.
I shared this story with a few folks and even mentioned the occasion in some of my later sermons. One of the people I shared the story with was my dear friend of many years, Rev Albert Bogle. He wrote a song based on my encounter — ‘Just Past Midnight on Christmas Morn’ You can hear it now on Spotify and Apple Music.
This article was first published on sanctuaryfirst.org.uk and is reused with permission