Sunday 1 December 2013

Pause in Advent #1

Pause in Advent Logo from Floss

At my recent conference, one evening’s prayers were on the theme of ‘angels’. Angels are messengers from God, and are mentioned throughout the Bible. People superstitiously believed that seeing an angel meant death was imminent – so they usually begin delivering their message with the words “Fear Not”. I tell the children that an angel these days is likely to say “Don’t Panic!”

With regard to the matter of wings – the Bible is quite clear that cherubim and seraphim have wings [Isaiah 6, Exodus 25] but angels are often mistaken for humans, so I am not convinced that are equipped with flying gear. However I try to be tolerant, especially at this time of year, with all those little children dressing up for Nativity plays. And all my Willow Tree angels have wings. I decided to take a different one of these figurines each Sunday as a starting point for my Advent Pausing. So here’s Pause # 1

angel of winter- welcoming all to the warmth of home and hearth

This is the ‘Angel of Winter’ and her tagline is ‘welcoming all to the warmth of home and hearth’

Winter is often seen in a negative way – the weather is cold, the ground is hard, the garden is devoid of the colourful fruits and flowers of summertime, and many of the animals are hibernating. In the accursed Narnia it was ‘always winter but never Christmas’ Yes these things are true- but only give one side of the story.

I am not a gardener, but I know that brassicas, parsnips and some other crops benefit from frost, which develops their flavour. And a light coating of snow acts as an insulator, protecting some plants from the freezing air. The cold of winter can be very beneficial. Hibernation – the winter sleep – is a survival strategy for the animals who could not find food in the harsh weather. They awaken in the spring ready and able to face a new year – but they do need to sleep.

dormouse_hibernatingWinter is part of the seasonal cycle, part of God’s plan in Creation, so we should embrace it as such…and recognise it will soon give way to Spring. Maybe it should be a time to slow down a bit – though I’m not suggesting we actually go to sleep with the dormice.

Time to reflect on what we have achieved in the twelvemonth past, and look to God for guidance about plans for the New Year ahead.

My angel carries a wreath of evergreens – symbolic of the unending nature of God’s love. Always fresh, going on forever.

But my little figurine reminds me too, that I am blessed with a warm home, good friends, and a loving family. For these I am truly grateful. It is good to welcome others into our homes and share warmth and love and friendship. Last Sunday night, I drove over to Norfolk to do a few jobs at Cornerstones. As I pulled the car onto the drive, my neighbour came out. “I thought I heard the car – do you want to come in for a cup of tea, Angela?” I quickly put my two bags inside the bungalow [and turned on the heating!] then went round to her warm home for a cuppa and a chat. That was a lovely and unexpected blessing, I’d envisaged a long evening by myself as the property warmed up, instead I was able to share warmth and companionship with her before returning to my place. Thanks, Alwyn!

This December, I want to spend less time rushing about from place to place, and more time welcoming people to the warmth of our home, and the warmth of fellowship at our church.

My first angel – the Angel of Winter


  1. I love the changing seasons, as I find there is something to look forward to with each one...........the darker days and slower pace of winter gives us time to reflect and look forward to the renewal that spring and summer brings.

    Beautiful simple Willow Tree Angels.......I've never seen them before.

  2. Lovely thoughts - If I lived nearer I might pop round!!

  3. Lovely angel, lovely post. Thank you Angela for reminding me that time is fleeting, and rushing gets me nowhere!

  4. The weather really does slow us down here...not quite hibernation mode, but pretty close!
    Jane x

  5. Some beautiful thoughts to ponder. :)

  6. Lovely post and blessed thoughts - thanks for sharing such a reflective post. Looking forward to the others xxx

  7. A wonderful post, Ang!
    I'm glad your kind neighbor offered warmth and hospitality and you inspire me to invite people into our warm home this December.

  8. A beautiful post. I plan to be like the dormouse on Christmas evening! Everything would have been done, time with family would have been enjoyed and I can rest. x

  9. Have you read Billy Graham's 'Angels, God's messengers'? This was an interesting read for me about what angels are like! You are right- the warmth of winter- the hospitality is a wonderful time that offers us the opportunity to share with those around. x

  10. Thanks for this lovely post, Angela. Sometimes I wish I could sleep like a dormouse, especially in December.

    You are more charitable than I when it comes to the angel issue ... I've learned not to bring it up as people get very uptight when they hear that angels probably don't have wings! It upsets a lot of cherished notions. :)

  11. thankyou for those thoughts, but must admit, find it not quite fitting for us "down under" as we are into summer!

  12. So I wonder how angels fit into summer (see Jude's comment above) - I bet you have an angel for summer, too, Ang? Down here in the south of France we have had heavy frosts and rain, so your comments about winter finally seem very relevant here.

    I find the angel/fairy confusion rather, well, confusing. Angels can hold big, firey swords and fairies, as far as I know, can't.

  13. Mattman's "fun" homework this week is to decorate/dress the little angel he had already made in school and has brought home for personalising. We're calling him Naturiel, and he's a bit pagan. More green man than holy one! So I'm glad you're allowing us wings! Food and bed. That's all we need in Winter, I think!


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