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Susan Ciancio reviews Max Lucado's imaginative retelling of the birth of Christ as seen through the eyes of the archangel Gabriel.

“What manner of love is this?” Michael the archangel asked. 


Advent is a time of preparation, reflection, anticipation, and joy. And nowhere is there greater joy than in the coming of Christ. 

Christian author Max Lucado understands this. His fictional book, An Angel’s Story, tells of the coming of Christ through the eyes of the angel Gabriel. If you have never read this powerful book, now is the time to find a copy, for you will see the birth of Jesus in a magnificent new light. 


An Angels Story

Taken from Lucado’s imagination of what might have occurred prior to Mary meeting Gabriel and the events leading up to Christ’s birth, and based partly on Revelation 12, An Angel’s Story is a beautiful look at the greatest gift we have ever been given. 

This small 50-page book has something for all ages—love, humor, action, and triumph over evil. Whether you read it alone or with your family, you will marvel at the images, the quotes, and the strong faith and trust exhibited by the angels who love God so purely and deeply.  

Below are a few of the scenes you will find in the book, along with a short reflection. Each will impel you to read the book and to ponder the magnificence of Our Lord, and each will fill you with awe as you build your own anticipation for Christ’s birth. 

  1. In one of the first scenes, God and Lucifer have a conversation about God’s first gift to mankind: choice. Lucifer delights in the fact that man has made bad choices. He taunts God, saying: “Ever since the fruit was plucked from the tree in the Garden, I’ve held Your children captive. They fell. Fast. Hard. They are mine.”

God responds: “Your deceptions have only served as platforms for My mercy. ... Every act you have intended for evil, I have used for good.” 

Though Satan tries, he cannot thwart God’s will. Yes, bad things happen in life, sometimes as a result of the bad choices people make. But God never abandons us. His love and His mercy are infinite. And we, too, have a choice: Will we allow Him to help us find good in the bad? Or will we allow anger or bitterness to consume us? 

  1. Gabriel and a legion of angels fly toward earth on the vital mission of finding Mary. As they fly, Gabriel asks Sophio, an angel gifted with wisdom, to “whisper truth” to him as they fly. Sophio responds: “Lucifer is the father of lies. There is no truth ... no truth in him. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy.”

If we all had someone whispering those words in our ears, we might be more inclined to follow God’s commandments! That is why we must learn to whisper them to ourselves. Satan prowls about the world seeking to ruin souls, but sometimes it’s very difficult to see him because he comes in many shapes and forms. That is why we must constantly remind ourselves that he is out to destroy. 

  1. Upon seeing Baby Jesus, Gabriel marveled: “Our minds were filled with Truth we had never before seen. We became aware for the first time of the Father’s plan to rescue those who bear His name. ... At once amazed and stunned, the eye of every angel went to one part of the child: the hands which would be pierced.”

As we read, we feel the anguish the angels feel when they suddenly realize God’s plan for His Son. They gaze upon Him in wonder, and then this wonder turns to sadness. As Christmas approaches and we think of the tiny baby in the manger, let us look at the hands of Baby Jesus. Let us not just see the nails that will pierce Him but the hand of Our Lord who will hold it outstretched toward us when we leave our earthly home. 

  1. God’s voice told the angels of what would happen at the crucifixion and how the angels must do nothing to stop it. Sophio spoke with knowledge of God’s love: “He will be wounded for the wrong they did, crushed for the evil they did. The punishment which will make them well will be given to Him. They will be healed because of His wounds.”

Only then did Gabriel finally understand the words he read in God’s book at the beginning of the story: “Jesus. Nail. Cross. Blood. Tomb. Life.” 

Christ comes soon to save us. Are we ready to receive this gift? Have we prepared well enough? 

“What manner of love is this?” Michael the archangel asked, gazing upon the baby. 


It is a love we can only begin to comprehend. 



Copyright 2023 Susan Ciancio
Images: Canva