It got me thinking...
The word "angel" originates from the Greek "aggelos", meaning "messenger". Many scriptural references exist describing these messengers. Interestingly, none of them is portrayed as a winged, chubby, baby-like figure. On the contrary, as Dr. John Bechtle points out, Biblical angels "are always full-grown adults. When people in the Bible saw an angel, their typical response was to fall on their faces in fear and awe, not to reach out and tickle an adorable baby."
Certainly, the angels I have met are full grown adults.
Recently, my colleagues and I took our students to a "caring and sharing" holiday brunch at the Liberty Grand, put on by Spinmaster Toys in affiliation with Breakfast Clubs for Children. As part of the event, our students got to go "shopping" in a GIANT ballroom, for toys -- one for themselves, and another to give away to their Kindergarten buddy back at school. Each student was led around the donated toy-filled hall by an "angel", who helped the kids choose an appropriate toys for themselves and their buddies. The angels did not have wings. But they did have huge smiles and lots of compassion and tonnes of patience as they answered the children's many questions about the various toy options.
Another angel has come to me by email over the past several years at Christmas Time. An at-risk family we volunteer with has 10-year-old twins and 6-year-old triplets (all boys!!!) Some years ago, I put out a call for help with Christmas gifts for this family. A total stranger emailed me, offering to buy a gift for each child as well as the parents. She and her family did this, and mailed the package to me, and I delivered it to the family, along with some other items we had fundraised for. The next year, this angel initiated contact with me again, and again, we were able to add her parcel to the small pile of gifts we were collecting for the family.
This year, our friends--who sign up each year with a local charity for a gift for each child -- were told that they had to sign up with a different branch, due to some postal-code-related policy change. By the time they did so, it was too late: That office's gifts were already all spoken for. Mom told the boys "Santa's not coming this year", at which all five burst into tears. The afternoon my co-volunteer emailed me this news, I rec'd an email from the ANGEL!!! She was contacting me yet again to see how she could help!!! (This family's situation has brought many angels over the few years I have know them. The above story is just one example.)
Yes, I have met many un-winged, adult angels. Often, they arrive at the most oportune moments, bringing a home cooked meal to me when I was starving at home, at my wits' end, arms full of two screaming newborns, or appearing in my classroom suddenly to offer me an extra planning time at school when I am overwhelmed with paperwork, or arriving at my door with a drill and a willingness to hang countless hooks in my new apartment. Sometimes, they bring unexpected news that at first seems strange, scary or insurmountable. But always, the angels are wise, much wiser and more in control than I am, in the moments they appear in my life, and I look back on the many instances of their arrival as did my counterparts in scripture, with awe!