Friday, 17 December 2010
Five Festive Fridays - Angels
Welcome to week 3 of Five Festive Fridays, taking a look at a contemporary issue in relation to the traditional Advent/Christmas Themes.
This week it is the turn of the Angels.
I have grown up with a slight resentment of Angels. I had blonde hair and blue eyes: I was always (yes, always) an Angel in the Nativity. Even aged eleven or twelve, I had to dress in a big white sheet with tinsel on my head. Never - not ever, not even once - was I Mary. I wasn't a shepherd or even a sheep. I was an Angel.
I'd love to say it was a reflection of my angelic personality, but I'm afraid a few would disagree with that.
Yet they are an important part of the Christmas story. Gabriel appeared to Zachariah (who I mentioned last week) and to Mary, and then a whole throng of angels sang to the shepherds. Clearly they were arresting: a sight to behold (although I can categorically state that there is no mention of tinsel in the bible).
Angels are God's messengers, the Royal Mail of biblical times. Today's messengers don't seem to have the same accuracy or style. If the postman arrived at the front door, glowing like the Ready Brek ads from head to foot and singing ... well, to be honest, I'd slam the door shut and call the police. Or the medics. But you can't deny the flair and panache of such delivery.
The playground gossip is about delayed deliveries. Like my friends, I have had problems with a couple of deliveries from Amazon. Despite the website stating that my goods are 'with the local deliverer' and despite living in a part of the country that has largely escaped the awful weather, it appears they are unable to convey my parcels on time. My order was supposed to arrive last week.
Perhaps I've been lucky, but for me this is the first time that they haven't delivered within the timescale they've stated. Should I be panicking? Should I rush out and re-buy the presents? Given the forecast for more snow, ice and general winter disruption this weekend, should I just give up now?
Yet I have received an email where they ask me to 'kindly wait' and ask for 'my continued patience', and imply that it will definitely be with me by 20 December. Christmas is going to be a little bare if it doesn't! What I like about the biblical story is that the angel said, "Do not be afraid." Amazon are trying to tell me the same thing, but are couching it in soft language - and allowing themselves some get-out clauses, some extra space for error.
Despite the angels' appearance (sudden, brilliant, Godly) they were bringing good news - peace, joy, hope, babies.
There are so many good things in life that we are afraid of. Babies is a prime example: despite the joy of finding myself pregnant, I did wonder what on earth I'd let myself in for. I still wonder that, ten years on! A new house; a new job; a new relationship: all can be exceedingly good things, yet fill us with fear and trepidation. It is that endless 'what if...' question. What if I'm not good enough? What if he's on the rebound? What if there is dry rot throughout? What if nobody likes me?
Yet the angel said, "Do not be afraid."
If it is good news ... and I sincerely hope that it is good news for you this Christmas ... then enjoy it. Sing and celebrate with the angels.
Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above:
'Glory to God
In the highest'.
From 'O Come, All Ye Faithful'; 18th Century hymn