Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Don't Do Angels

"Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains"

 I don't do angels. I mean it - I really don't

 I don't mean real angels, of course, but the myriad little cutesy decorative items found everywhere these days. You know the kind - everything from chubby naked babies, long-haired beauties in flowing robes , and masculine types with armor and swords to puppies, kittens, bears and monkeys - all depicted with wings, fluttering in air, and totally adorable. I don't do those!

The word "angel" comes from Hebrew and Greek words which mean “messenger” and is used to describe any agent that God sends to do his will. Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament of the Bible. They are often depicted as spirits, rather than physical beings, and don't have to be visible at all. But they can take on the appearance of men or women and sometimes appear in dazzling white and blazing glory. Sometimes an angel appears to be a man with highly unusual features.

Although some Bible passages picture angels with wings or talk about angels flying, most references say nothing about wings. And it does not always refer to heavenly beings; sometimes, the Bible uses these words for human beings, sometimes it speaks figuratively of things or events as "messengers", but it usually describes the whole range of spirits whom God has created, including both good and evil angels, and special categories such as cherubim, seraphim and the archangel. However, angels in the Bible never appear as cute, chubby infants - they are always full-grown adults. When people in the Bible saw an angel, their typical response was to fall on their faces in fear and awe, not to reach out and tickle an adorable baby.

In art, angels are often depicted with wings on their back, a halo, robes and various forms of glowing light. But angels are not limited to Christianity. The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of supernatural beings or spirits found in many other religious traditions, as well as occultism. Is it any wonder, then, that we find decorative angels in all shapes and sizes?
It appears that angels serve a valuable purpose. Their job descriptions might well include worship and praise, revealing, guiding, providing, protecting, delivering, strengthening and encouraging, answering prayer, and caring for believers at the moment of death.

So have I ever actually met a real angel? My first impulse would be to say no, but considering all of the above, I do believe I have - many times and in many different forms. I believe we all have.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them. "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord..."  
Luke 2:9-11  



  1. A little cranky this morning, eh? Lots of people love angels - in all sorts of forms - they can add joy to a person's life and shouldn't be slammed by a Scrooge.

  2. Anonymous - no, I wasn't feeling cranky OR "Scroogish" when I wrote this. As I'm sure you know, we all have different likes/dislikes/opinions and some of my best friends do like all the little decorative "angels" - I just do not happen to. It was not my intent to slam angels, only to say that some of the trinkets of them are not for me.

    If you read my entire post carefully, you will note that I distinguish the decorative type of angels from those described in the Bible.

    I realize, of course, that lots of people do like the cutesy ones and that certainly is their right. If you like them - go for it!

    By the way, all of the angels in my photos belong to me, so I guess I DO "do" angels more than I'd like to admit...

    Thanks for stopping by and hope you do so again!