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Surrounded by angels once again

December 17, 2015
Westfield Republican

In recent weeks, there has been a definite increase in the incidents of angels.

It seems flights of the heavenly beings have quietly settled on the top of almost every Christmas tree around.

Angels of every size and kind have been released from their long sleep in attics and storage areas, closets and out-of-the-way shelves. Now, in addition to gracing the top of the Christmas trees, they have proudly taken their places on mantels, newel posts, pianos and dining tables.

Keepsake angels, passed lovingly down from generation to generation, have once again found their places of honor in the center of family activities. Each of the winged messengers is a reminder of the role the "multitudes of the Heavenly hosts" played in that first Christmas so long ago.

When you look back at the Christmas story, it's no wonder angels have been such an important part of celebrating the blessed birth. From the time folks began decorating trees to mark the season, angels were among the most beloved of all the symbols.

Early in the tradition of tree decorating, an angel was used at the top of the evergreen. The position symbolized the angels who appeared in the night skies above Bethlehem to announce Jesus' birth.

In addition to angel tree toppers, there are countless angel ornaments fashioned from metal, cloth, glass, even natural material like straw. Entire collections have been made of the heavenly messengers.

Although I'm a collector at heart, I've never consciously gathered a group of angels. Yet, when I decided to share my thoughts on the topic this week, I took time to look over the angels our little family has accumulated through the years.

As I held each of these lovely keepsakes in my hands, memories of long ago Christmas celebrations came flooding back, warm and clear.

There's the cream-colored angel ornament hand-crafted by a dear friend. She cleverly formed the little figure using a crocheted hankie for the body. The head is a tiny white foam ball topped by a halo of seed pearls. A soft pink ribbon around her neck gives this heavenly symbol a touch of color.

Another member of our small collection is an angel made with great care from straw and other plant materials. The graceful lady's arms are raised, holding a long trumpet to help her announce the good news.

The oldest item in our angel assembly is a "cut-out" angel painted gold. I bought her at a long-ago estate sale. She appears to be a vintage piece and always inspires me with more questions than answers.

Our treasured tree topper angel has been with us for a number of years. The beautiful blonde messenger is dressed in a white robe trimmed in gold. Her spread wings are golden, too.

This elegant lady's head and hands are made of delicate porcelain.

The candle she holds is connected to the tree lights and gives a tiny glow at the top of the tree.

Now, as Christmas draws nearer, all of our family's angels are on duty, quietly awaiting that joyful day.

My prayer for each of you is that you will slow down from the bustle that sometimes obscures the focus of this season. Take time to let the angels of your life enter your heart and proclaim the miracle of the Holy Birth once again.



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