On this Sunday in Advent, when the candle we light is the Angel candle, I catch my breath as I remember.
Not too many months ago, I felt much like a poor shepherd out in the field being visited by not one, but many angels. These angels wore scrubs, not robes. They wielded not swords, but needles and medicines, scalpels and anesthesia. Among the angel troops I had the privilege of meeting those weeks in the hospital, were those who transported me from hospital room to X-ray, and to surgery and back again, twice. One particular angel was named Stan. A normal everyday guy who took pride in his work, carting folks in and out, to and from where they needed to go next. He was the one called upon to wheel me to my first surgery to remove a colon so inflamed it was about to burst.
As he and my husband made small talk on the way to surgery, I had a particular scripture running in my head. I wasn’t making myself remember this. It just came into my head and played over and over. They were the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord…be it unto me according to Thy will.” Over and over it ran until we reached the room where I would be relieved, not of a baby, but of a burden that was truly killing me.
On this Good Friday, as Stan turned to leave, he said, “I’ll be praying for you Mrs. Edwards.” To which I asked, “Would you pray with me now?” His eyes glowed in joy at the request and out came his well-worn sword as he bowed his head. He prayed two Scriptures for me that day: one was that I, like Christ, was in my Gethsemane, wishing that this cup would pass from me. He prayed that I would have the strength to say as Christ did, “…not my will, but Thine be done.” And the next prayer blew me away—“Lord, Mrs. Edwards is like Mary today. Grant her the courage to say, as Mary, your Mother did, ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it unto me according to Thy will.” And he sheathed his sword as he said, “Amen.”
I had not uttered a word on the way to that room. There was no way he could have known I was hearing that verse run in my head as I faced surgery. Only angels know these things.
Whatever it is you believe about angels, we have it on good account that they show up when needed most. The shepherds in that day needed the angels as much as I did on Good Friday, in March of this year. I am so grateful for angels (though they are completely unaware they are one!) who come bearing Good News, wielding swords of all kinds and wearing various uniforms.
Be glad with me today! An angel has brought us the best news we could ever hear: A Savior has been born! And that news brings healing in our bones and joy for our souls.