Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Becoming Angels

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Angels have been on my mind a lot the past couple weeks, as I prepared for and led an Advent retreat entitled The Advent of Jesus Through the Eyes of Others. (Stay tuned, because I intend to offer this retreat online next year!) God’s messengers were busy in the lives of those around Jesus’ incarnation; individual angels appeared to Zechariah in the temple, to Mary, and to Joseph in a dream, while an entire band of angels (How many is a “band,” I wonder?!) appeared to the shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem. The wise men were also warned in a dream—perhaps by angels—not to return to Herod and tell him exactly where to find the baby Messiah.

IMG_0636Henry and I have accumulated a lot of angels over the years, and this past week I have added a number of them to our Advent tree. They are a very fitting Christmas ornament.

They are also an excellent reminder that God still sends angels into our lives, although most of them do not obviously sport wings or fly. Because of the Holy Spirit, given to us by God after Jesus’ resurrection, we are all equipped to be angels for each other. If you look back across the difficult times in your life, you can doubtlessly come up with moments when someone else became an angelic presence in your life, whether they swooped in with a casserole (or takeout!) after surgery or shared an encouraging word when you were feeling down or hopeless.

In this season, our culture encourages us to be angels for one another—whether it’s the Bling Team paying for holiday shopping or church choir members serenading nursing home residents with Christmas carols. But we don’t need to limit our angelic impulses to the holiday season. There is always the need to spread joy and love, and messages about the surprising ways God continues to manifest in our lives.

How might you be an angel to someone in need today? Next week? Next year?

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