“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” – Author Unknown.
“You are such an angel. Thank you.” When was the last time that you uttered these words? Oftentimes when we use the word “angel,” to describe someone, we are generally in a precarious or vulnerable state and we see a familiar face that has invaded our space. Most times we are moved beyond words and the familiar phrase seems appropriate to the occasion. Invited or uninvited, beautiful angels show up at just the right moment, in presence, in word, in gifts, or in action – and they help. This Christmas, we all have much to celebrate as angels invade our lives with a gentle announcement. They simply say, “We are here. You are not alone. We will help.” As someone once aptly said, “Friendship is a knot tied by angels’ hands” (Author Unknown).
This Christmas, I encourage all of us to remember the angel’s announcement to hearts that tended to fright at their appearance, “And the Angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2: 10). In the middle of a strange experience, the angels’ presence, although discomforting at first, brings peace and heralds the news of joy to their little town. One of the well-loved Christmas carols, “The First Noel,” tells the story well. Historically, this English hymn was first published in 1833 when it appeared in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys (https://www.carols.org.uk/the_first_noel.htm ). Imagine the heavenly chorus as they sang:
The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!
They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!
Imagine all the emotions that whizzed through the hearts of the poor shepherds as they bore witness to these strange creatures who shared such a heartwarming message! The follow-up question is, “Why visit us poor shepherds in the fields outside of the city?” The message to us from the Christmas Angel is that you are not lost from the sight of God who made you. Wherever you are, God is there. His angels are sent to remind you that good tidings await you just beyond the next hill. The angels herald the message to the invisible and the lowly ones, that your new season is here. It may not feel like it, but look to the sky! When the shepherds obeyed the simple instruction and looked up, what graced their eyes? A wonderful star, “Shining in the East beyond them far.” But the message continues, the star was so bright that it gave light to all the earth. They were visited by the angels to receive the message. But, guess what? They were not the only ones who could see the star lighting the earth. Everyone who was on the earth was stirred with wonder as to the significance of this amazing star.
Like the shepherds of that first Noel, we are called to investigate the sign. We are called to follow the angel’s instructions and to look up and to move ahead. Go and see where the star is resting. Go and see the long awaited dream. Go and see the symbol of hope in the midst of your distress. This Christmas, Friend, I challenge you to look for the angels in your midst. I see them in friends, thoughtful family members, and neighbours. I see them in all those who do the unexpected, who adjust their schedule to accommodate mine, who do a little bit more to signal to me, “I am here.” I promise you that Christmas angels are around you. Remember what a wise one once said, “Angels exist in our lives every day, but unless we remember how to listen, we are not aware of their presence” (Author Unknown).
Believe me, Friend, long before the season is over, you will receive a message from a Christmas angel. It may even be the gift of a childhood friend. Childhood friends can provide undeniable benefits to you in unimaginable ways when they appear in your life. Childhood friends not only can be a source of comfort for you, but they can also be the bridge to your future. They may have skill sets that you need to move from your pit stop to get you back in the race on the track. I know this to be true because it is happening for me as I prepare two more books to be released in the market by January 2018.
I know that it can happen for you this Christmas as you listen to the message in the First Noel. While researching for this blog, I stumbled upon a rendition by the group Pentatonix (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/pentatonix-mn0002808236/biography). It happened for them too and has resulted in international success. They were first thrust into the national spotlight by winning the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2011. Soon after this, they released a string of Top Ten albums, received multiple Grammy Awards, and continued international chart success. So, who are they? Pentatonix is an a cappella group from Arlington, TX. It was founded by three high school friends – Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying. They started as three friends entering a local Glee club event. The video of their entry, “Telephone,” went viral on YouTube. So, they enhanced their sound by becoming five, adding the last 2 members. As they matured they embraced diversity and strengthened their impact by adding Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola.
No matter where you are this Christmas, look for the Christmas angel bearing good news and tidings of great joy for all the people. Make a wish upon a star, because it has been said that when you do this angels listen from afar” (Author Unknown). There may be moments when you ponder a little too long or stare too long at the closed door that you begin to feel despair, but I caution you to be ready. “When you feel lost, pause and look closely around you. Somewhere, somehow, an angel will be waiting to guide you home” (Author Unknown).
MERRY CHRISTMAS & A BRIGHT AND JOYOUS 2018.