Saturday, December 19, 2009
My Real Christmas Angel
I have always been fascinated by angels. As a child, I took to heart the concept of a guardian angel. Never one to enjoy being alone, it comforted me to know that an angel was watching over me and keeping me from harm. Besides that, I just knew in my child's heart that all angels were beautiful creatures. I mean, how could an angel be ugly?
Several years ago, my mother gave me the little angel you see in the photograph above. She did not give me any explanation as to why she gave her to me except to say that it was from my first Christmas tree and she just wanted me to have her. I had started collecting angel figurines several years before and Mother wanted to add this little angel baby to my collection. I have cherished it and keep it out all year long. One section of the skirt is a little ragged but she is lovely to me. She is a cherished treasure from my loving Mother.
For some reason this year, as I was decorating for Christmas, I became curious about my little angel. I wanted to know the story behind the gift and how she came to be so important. I phoned my Mother and asked her to tell me about my first Christmas angel. This is the story as Mother told it to me.
"You were about 18 months old when your Daddy and I decorated your first Christmas tree. We had so little money that year. All we could afford was a little table-top tree, about three feet high. We had one string of lights and about a dozen pretty bulbs. I ordered the little angel from a catalog---she cost a dollar. I put her on the top of the tree and she looked so pretty. When you came into the room and looked up to see the angel, you just kept saying, "Pretty angel, Mommy.". You just sat in a chair and kept staring at the angel. When your Daddy came home from work, you grabbed his hand and said, "See the angel, Daddy. See the pretty angel."
When you started collecting angels as an adult, I wanted you to have your first angel and to know that, though she didn't cost much money, your love of her and the memory of your first Christmas have always been precious to me."
Do I need to tell you how this story touched my heart? The thought of my sweet Mother, with almost no money to spare, selflessly making my first real Christmas one of beauty and joy. I could not hold back the tears.
But that is how my Mother has always been. She has always put her family ahead of anything she might want or need. To know that we have a holiday to remember---to see the smiles on the faces of her children, grandchildren and, now, great-grandchildren---to create memories that will last a lifetime---these have been Mother's gifts.
I am not able to go home for Christmas this year. My work schedule and other concerns prevent my making the trip. But, as I look at this little angel and remember the story Mother told me, I know that we will be together in our hearts. I will be hearing her sweet voice on Christmas Day. She will ask me if I've had a good Christmas and did the grandchildren enjoy their gifts. She will inquire about what we had for dinner and want to know if we have any snow. I will answer her questions with a smile on my face and a yearning in my heart to see her. I will be certain to let her know that the best gift I ever received was when she became my Mother. I want her to know that, of all the gifts of my childhood, I am most grateful for the gift of having her and Daddy to be my parents.
I am sure we all have a guardian angel. The scriptures teach us that the angels of God encircle us and watch over us faithfully. I know this to be true because, not only do I have a beautiful little Christmas angel to remind me, but I have a real-life guardian angel given to me by God Himself. My angel's name is Margie---but I call her Mother.