Of course angels are real!

Of course angels are real!

Sande Ramage

18 December 2012

 

With the downturn in organised religion job options for angels have plummeted. I imagine dwarves were in the same boat until Hobbit opportunities opened up new flights of fancy.
 
Wondering about angels comes easily for me when I sit high in the hills above Wellington harbour. Between the billowing clouds as the sun rises and sets, there are hints of worlds beyond the ones we usually grind ourselves down with.  
 
When I peered out the other night the view was astounding. I had no trouble imagining that choirs of angels were fluttering about behind the hills getting ready for their biggest night of the year. Too early said a Facebook friend. Literalism is a devastating affliction.  
 
Could she not see the requirement to fluff out wings that have been folded away for much of the year? To say nothing of the shining white raiment in need of the spin cycle before ironing? Not forgetting haloes and trumpets to be polished, and harps restrung.
 
Despite all that effort, angels come across as a bit one dimensional in the Christmas story. Mary too. She can't just have said 'how can this be' to the angel without some conversation about enrolment rigmarole at the best schools or, at the very least, offers on swaddling clothes.
 
Matthew and Luke showed a distinct lack of imagination but then they had their own agenda.
 
Angels, Mary, cows, ducks and all manner of beasts get a much better deal when kids get hold of the story. They pummel, poke and reshape it to fit their view of the world.  An entirely necessary process if mythology is to sprout wings and fly into jaded hearts.
 
Some Auckland schoolgirls had a go at reshaping the story this year. Mary had a memory lapse about her sweetheart's moniker and had to resort to 'what's his name' but it all came right in the end.
 
Not to be outdone by this youthful exuberance, New Zealand's Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae hosted Christmas carols at Government House whilst the Obamas were sighted hugging elves in Washington.  
 
No angels in evidence at either executive residence but plenty in last year's Kiwi Christmas story that now has about 1.5million hits on YouTube and climbing.
 
The Christmas story can survive all this and more. With elements drawn and adapted from traditions much older than Christianity, its truths continue to resonate with the yearnings of the human heart whether you're in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Wales or Fiji.
 
The strange thing is all this angelic awakening has happened without church going. Instead, the story has been born again in ways that mean something to the people watching and listening.  
 
Angels are energetic and entrepreneurial. One is waiting to reinvigorate your Christmas story. In the right light, just lift your eyes to the hills, open your heart and wait...
 
Image: clker.com