Today we have two reflections on the word "Angel." The first is by Becky Graber. The second is by Skip Raymond. After Skip's reflection there is a song Becky recorded. Click the Play button on the left to listen.
I have looked for angels and longed for their touch since I was young. Somehow just hearing the word “angels” makes me light up inside.
I think that angels come to us as an embodiment of heaven, heaven being the place where generosity of spirit thrives and blesses human life.
I have a memory of being 5 or 6 years old; my class was riding a bus to the Swedish Museum in downtown Minneapolis, the snow was falling and I thought to myself that the angels were sending the snow to us. (I had an idea that it might be the dandruff from their heads but that didn’t seem quite right, not heavenly enough.)
We loved laying down in the snow and flapping our arms and legs to make snow angels imprints. I’m sure many of you share that memory of making snow angels, or helping your little ones to do so!
Angels are found just EVERYWHERE during this season of Advent and Christmas: on cards, on the top of the tree, in the twinkling lights, in songs: “Angels Hovering ‘Round”, “Angels, Come Stand by My Side”, “Angels Watching Over Me”, Angels We Have Heard On High”.
I loved the story of the Littlest Angel, a story about a boy who died young and gave baby Jesus a wooden box full of all the gifts of being a boy on earth - which became the start that guided the Wise men. When I got a little older, I loved getting acquainted with Clarence, the angel in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and the seed was planted in my mind and heart that angels can appear in our own lives.
When I was older still, I discovered that we humans have felt angels, and seen them, for hundreds of years. I was struck in particular with the beauty of the Medieval paintings, with gold halos and rich colors. I loved Book of Hours, where angels were often seen hovering over the scenes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_Duc_de_Berry#/media/File:Folio_44v_-_The_Nativity.jpg
One snowy day, when my kids were 2 and 5, I brought Sarah’s friend Fiona along with us to a doctor’s appointment. It turned out that Sarah needed to get booster shots, and she HATED shots and did everything she possibly could to get away from the doctor. Finally, shots given, appointment over, I took the kids to Friendly’s for an ice cream treat. When we came out of the restaurant, we had a flat tire. Oh dear (to say the least!) This was pre-cell phone, so I think I went back into the restaurant to use their phone, 3 little kids in tow.
That’s where my angels-to-be were just finishing up their meals; two truckers followed us out to our car, happy to help us. One of them entertained the kids and me while the other man changed our tire for us. And they went on their way back into their lives. Angels.
They were angels in action. Kindness personified. An embodiment of heaven.
I look for angels, and I hope to be one at times as well.
- Becky Graber
Most people when they think of “Angel” think about the angel coming to Mary about the birth and that is only natural at this time of the year. I have 2 thoughts about Angel ! The 1st is when my wife died suddenly 6 years ago on November 14, 2011 and my daughter-in-law sent me a cross with an Angel on the front with the words, “Angels are sent to ease our sorrows, strengthens our faith and lighten our hearts” and she wrote a very nice message on the back. That Angel sits on her dresser today!
The 2nd Angel reminds me of a Christmas tradition that we have had in my family from when I was a child. We would come down on Christmas morning to see a tree all decorated with the exception of the Angel on the top; it was the youngest child’s duty to put the Angel on that top most branch; usually the Dad would help and we would all look to that figure and know that things were good.
Angel’s have played a role in my life for lots of year’s and it is from the birth of the Christ child that this all stems. “ Angel’s we have heard on high”
- Skip Raymond