Angelic gift from above

“I can’t believe it. Where can this office possibly be?”

My good friend Liz had jumped through hoops and practically begged to get this interview. With a stalled economy and children in college, she was motivated to get back into the workforce. She had groomed her resume and printed out driving directions from the MapQuest Web site. With all her preparations, it never occurred to her she might experience the rising panic one can feel if you think for a moment you might be lost.

To her additional dismay, traffic was heavy so she pulled to the side of the road to safely retrace her map and counteract her growing tension by breathing deeply. A quick glance at her cellphone reminded her she must press on, but where was this office building anyway?

Everything had been going so well up to this point. Her new outfit looked just right, combining style and the appropriate amount of conservatism. Her letters of reference included glowing comments about her work. And then there was her portfolio. Liz was sure she had detected tears in her mother’s eyes just yesterday as she watched her leaf through the carefully prepared pages.

“God has given you such a talent, sweetheart,” she had remarked with a quiet kind of adult admiration. Liz had heard her mother praise her parenting many times in recent years, but this encouragement was personal and deeply satisfying. It gave her additional courage.

But all that courage was quickly draining away, and with five short minutes to get to that interview, she felt panicky. Suddenly a tap on her window moved her attention away from her map and onto the face of a man she had never seen before. His hand motioned downward, and she knew he wanted her to roll down the window. But she did not know him.

“The traffic’s bad today,” he yelled through he glass, “and I know you’ve just moments to spare. Follow me and I’ll get you to that interview,” he offered with a smile so kind she almost forgot her alarm.

Liz sat completely stunned, her hands now gripping the wheel. But before she could question him further or even protest, he was hurrying ahead to his car and hopping into the driver’s seat.

“I can’t believe I’m going to do this,” she thought, “and how could he possibly know about my interview?”

Five minutes later Liz was looking at the building that had previously evaded detection. And the faded blue sedan that had guided her there? Liz had hopped out into the parking lot, grabbing her purse and portfolio. But as she hurried over to thank the driver, his car was no where to be found. Anywhere. It seemed to have disappeared in thin air.

While a natural amount of nervousness has erased some details of the interview, Liz’s encounter with a kindly man (“I know he was an angel!”) encourages her each time she thinks back on the experience.

Angels surround us. Google “angel products” and you’ll be presented with well over a million Web site options. It’s a lucrative business.

And an old one. Angels (meaning “messenger” in Greek) can be found nearly 300 times in the Bible and their existence is never questioned but heralded, instead. Jesus frequently incorporated them into his stories, indicating that they rejoice over the remorseful, bear souls to heaven, and guard little children that they may see God’s face.

They played big roles in his own life as well: Singing over the fields of Bethlehem following his birth, ministering to him during his times of great emotional need, rolling away the stone when his resurrection was first revealed.

Intriguing is the word that comes to mind when I consider angels. So does heavenly, comforting, mysterious. And whether you picture a man driving a faded blue sedan, a glorious winged woman playing a harp, or a beefy and kissable little cherub that mirrors your own sleeping child, it is that connection to a personal and loving God that can produce a swell of deep joy.

What a gift! And what a concept. How might we be angels this Christmas? As I look about town, it seems we’re getting a slower start to the season. The neighborhoods are not as lit up as I’ve seen them in years past. How might we bring song, love, God’s presence, comfort and direction to those around us this year? What kind of tender, personal care might we take the time to present to someone we have never met this Christmas?

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