Sunday 8 December 2013

Pause In Advent #2

Pause in Advent Logo from Floss

My Willow Tree Angel for this week is this one

‘Angel Of Courage’

angel of courage Bringing a triumphant spirit, inspiration and courage

Her tagline is ‘bringing a triumphant spirit, inspiration and courage’

It seemed sense to start last week with the ‘winter angel’ – but this one should probably have been my first Advent post- because she is the first Willow Tree figure I owned. Bob gave her to me as a gift when we visited the States in 2002.

This angel reminds me of the importance of the ministry of encouragement. The dictionary defines that word as “to inspire with hope, courage or confidence; to hearten.”

I love this angel so much, because this is a pose I so frequently adopt myself. I throw my arms in the air, and shout “Hallelujah!” or “Yessss!!” or “We’ve done it!” or “Jesus, you’re amazing!” or “It’s finished!” [sometimes my fists clenched purposefully, other times, hands open, fingers pointing heavenwards]

shoppersI walk through the busy streets, and see the people hurrying along, getting ready for Christmas – many look harassed, fraught, anxious, worrying about whether they should spend their money on all this stuff, whether they can pay off the Credit Card bill. Others are struggling to carry loads of bags [probably full of inappropriate, overpriced gifts, many of which will be forgotten very quickly. In the shop, the lady behind me in the queue is talking about a family member who has been diagnosed with major illness, and a neighbour recently bereaved. At the bus stop, they are discussing what will happen to their jobs next year, and how yet another local firm has gone into receivership, and how they will struggle to meet the mortgage payment in January.

And I want to encourage each one of them, and say “Christmas is not about giving stuff from Argos and Tesco and M&S…it’s about receiving hope. Not about feeling a failure because you cannot provide all the material things that the ads imply you must have if you are a ‘perfect’ family, it’s about triumphing gratefully in the many blessings you have been given. Love, friendship, home, family, friends, food and clothes. Not about being anxious about the things that might [or might not] happen in the New Year, it’s about receiving courage to face what lies ahead.”

I have quoted the Minnie Louise Haskins poem before [here] I have no idea what your situation is, what you are facing right now – or what you will be facing in the year ahead. But be encouraged, because Christmas reminds us that the Son of God became man, he lived and died – and rose again – for us. Immanuel – God with us. And He will walk with us through every day of our lives - to give us hope, and inspiration and courage. 

I am not perfect – I have ‘wobbly moments’ [usually around 4am] when I start stressing about things [great and small ]…the  lack of Supply Teaching Income, two daughters living 100 miles away, the many tasks I have ‘left undone’, the odd socks lurking in the bottom of the laundry basket forever seeking their mates, the latest proclamation from Mr Gove, my inability to make gravy, the troubles in Egypt and Syria…but then God’s gracious Spirit reminds me that He is there and He does care. And then I throw up my arms and shout “Hallelujah! Thank you Lord!”  and I get on with my day [unless it is actually 4am, in which case I stay very still and rejoice silently, in case I wake my beloved ]

Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go


  1. Oh Angela, this is such an encouraging post(no irony /sarcasm intended). It is just what I needed to read this morning as my worries and fears begin to creep up on me. Thank you! Penny Lxxx

  2. I needed to read this today... thank you.

    Lesley in Livingston

  3. Triumphant spirit.That resonated with me today.Thank you!
    Jane x

  4. Such true words! I went to a garden centre yesterday that has decided to put together a wish tree for Santa. There were hundreds of tags with the usual, I want, I want, I want - all costly and technology gifts, but one struck me, it said "Dear Santa, I wish to have a year where I am cancer free". I do hope they get their wish xx

  5. Such a good post-I needed this on a cold icy Sunday! Thank you!

  6. I want to remember to be generous when I have opportunities to give courage just as you have today, Ang.

  7. You are a blessing dear Angela. What a wonderful, encouraging post!x

  8. Here's another Advent post for my fridge door. Just as well there are only four weeks! This could possibly be my favourite TR to date.


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