Looking for Angels

We need to be angels to each other, to give each other strength and consolation.  

(Henri Nouwen)

This Advent has had a different focus- I have spent a lot of time visiting a rehab center caring for an elderly relative. Each person I pass makes me sad. My heart and mind have been centered on my friend who had the kind of health scare that switches off your sense of security and the illusion we carry that life will go on forever. I have been in prayer vigil with my friend whose child is not being treated for cancer, as we long for a miracle. We just had a program for the grieving who may be figuring how to “celebrate” when the love of their life isn’t there.

Advent is the season of hope. It calls us to beautiful anticipation of the enigmatic love of our God who chose to be with us in flesh and blood, to share in the incredible elation and despair of life, the Messiah disguised as a vulnerable child come to save us.

Advent always goes too fast for me because I want to savor its lights, sounds, smells, and sense of shared hope with which it transforms the world in songs sung in only this season, family traditions of wreaths with four candles and ordinary trees transformed with lights. I want to watch A Christmas Carol to recover my ten-year-old sense of trust in the goodness of humanity as Scrooge gets his priorities straightened out each year.

Instead of moving quickly doing things: decorating, cooking, preparing for company, I have mostly been standing still, listening, trying to find the right words of comfort and hope. I have had to be very quiet. Waiting in prayer listening for God’s whispers of love.

I have been pondering to find an inspirational thought to share but I find I am standing in the crossroads of Advent hope and winter darkness as this week’s shortest day of light approaches. Sometimes in the dark, the heart must choose the wonder of believing.

Mr. Rogers said when you are in trouble look for the helpers. Henri Nouwen reminded me to look for angels and to remember the possibility that we can be the angels to each other. My faith assures me that angels will herald the saving child who IS hope, Immanuel, God with us, who will always bring light into the dark, hope into the confusion and love where it is most needed. Faith is expressed in the trust angels will appear in the night sky and in our life.