For many Christians, Christmas is a deeply religious time to remember the birth of the baby Jesus. For many, it is a happy time of family get-togethers, traditions and gift sharing. For some, it is a time of sadness, frustration and loneliness — but it doesn’t have to be.
Looking at the biblical account of the birth of Jesus, we can see the importance of angels in the story. In Matthew, an angel came to Joseph telling him to take Mary as his wife. In Luke, we see an angel talking with Zacharias about his wife, Elizabeth, who would bear the child later known as John the Baptist. Further on, we see Mary being told that she was “highly favored” and that her child would be great. The shepherds were told to find “the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.” Each time, God’s angels were present to inform, encourage, guide and support the holy family. And these angels can guide us if we listen to them.
Several years ago when I was a single parent, my children were with their father in another state and I was alone for Christmas. I had a man in my life, but that relationship had gone from delightful to abusive and I was having great difficulty extricating myself from the situation.
My children called me Christmas morning and after the call, I felt alone. I cried and cried. After I quieted down, I thought, “You can have a miserable Christmas and feel extremely sorry for yourself or you can think about the Christmas story see what you can learn from it.” So I began rereading the Christmas story from the Bible.
In a while, another angel thought occurred to me. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, speaks of angels in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” as “God’s representatives” and as “God’s thoughts passing to man.” Angels are important in the Christmas story and I reasoned that I should listen to my angel thoughts. If anyone in the Christmas story had not listened to the angel thoughts, he or she would have missed a wonderful opportunity to feel God’s loving presence.
An angel message occurred to me: I needed Christmas music. So, I played Handel’s “Messiah,” listening to many pieces over and over. Then I listened to other Christmas music. My home was filled with joy and love and gratitude. Soon I was singing and rejoicing in all the good. It was a healing time. Not long after that, I was able to successfully extricate myself from the harmful relationship.
Years later, I think of that Christmas as a wonderful, music-filled day. A healing day. Angels are with us all the time. We just need to stop and listen to their message.
Celia Nygard is a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist.