Angels we have heard on high.
Sweetly, sweetly through the night.
And the mountains in reply.
Echoing their brief delight.
Do you believe in angels? Have you ever thought about the meaning behind those words? Do we allow ourselves to truly listen to what angels whisper in our ears. Or does the dissonance of life block out any messages that God is sharing with us, trying to guide our lives, the very actions that impact other people as well?
After seeing The Star, the new Christmas movie with my son and grandchildren, I thought about the unwavering faith that the young virgin Mary had. She believed and accepted the message from the angel Gabriel who foretold the birth of her son, the promised king, the son of God that would be born in the coming months. Her response was “I am a servant of God, let it be with me.” What an incredible blessing to have so much faith that she was willing to place her life in God’s hand, without a question or doubt in her mind.
The definition of Faith is “having complete trust and confidence in someone or something.” Do we have faith in God to put our lives in His hands each day? Or do we try to control every step we take and every struggle that we face? I pray each day to trust God entirely, but by the end of the day, I am trying to grab ahold of the reins and take control once again.
I recently met a woman of faith who was an orphan in France during WWII. She is still an orphan today, with no family left, living in Section 8 housing here in Denver. Her accent is so thick that she feels people do not like her, but in reality, people simply cannot understand her. She ducts her head as she walks by them, still shy as the young girl at the orphanage.
Each year she worries she will become homeless, fearful as she re-certifies her meager monthly income of $644 with HUD. After reassuring her that the management company said she would never lose her tiny apartment at her income level, she swirled around, rejoicing in relief.
Her tiny body moved around gracefully, her arms reaching high, singing French Christmas carols as we hung miniature ornaments on a little tree that I brought over to her small but neat home. She did not have any Christmas decorations and has not had a tree in years, and yet she was happy and content in her home, with a TV so old and small that I do not know how it still works.
This little tree was sitting in my garage, it didn’t cost me anything and yet it brought her unbelievable delight, with her reacting like a young child experiencing her first Christmas. How is it possible to have so little and be so content? Her clothes are threadbare with only a few things hanging in her closet. Her six old photo albums showed pictures of the orphanage in Versailles, her maman and papa, her three sisters, glamorous glimpses of her as a young girl in Paris and a daughter and grandchildren that no longer stay in touch with her.
I asked her what makes her so hopeful and full of joy. Her faith in God. She loves God with a fervor that I have never seen in anyone in my life. Happiness shimmers off of her at church as she listens to the music and gazes up into the faces of the band members. When our pastor walks out on stage, the pure bliss on her face takes my breath away. She is not shy here. She feels safe and loved, surrounded by others who believe as she does. Language does not matter here. Her contagious joy conveys everything she wants to say.
I have met an angel, a true angel of God. I realized that angels walk among us every day of our lives, but we do not reach out to them or listen to them. I thank God for this blessing of meeting Odette, to experience faith at a level unknown to me every before and for realizing that there are people in need, who are angels in disguise.
We need to reach out and listen with our hearts, not our ears to understand the stories behind the ragged and rough clothes, behind the pain and wrinkles that show the struggles behind someone’s life. To help in ways that do not cost us anything, but give us back so much joy. By helping us understand that struggles do not vanquish our faith, but help us triumph above them.
Show grace to others and be thankful for all of your blessings. There are angels among us, living inside of us and waiting to guide our lives. I have been blessed with an angel named Odette, no longer an orphan; she is a child of God.