One of the responses to the Covid pandemic was the plethora of ideas shared by church members in a Facebook group. We knew we couldn’t do Christmas the same way as usual and many of us were looking for innovative ways of engaging the wider community. We took on board the idea of a trail of angels around the village. Various shops and organisations were invited to participate and decorate an angel with part of the Christmas story. I also thought it would be good to invite the local school children to count the number of times the word ‘angel’ (or angels) appeared. Correct entries would be put in a draw for a prize. See the slideshow below for the angels around the village.
As well as the trail of angels, some of our church ladies (members of the Craftea group) had been industriously knitting angels so that we could ‘yarn bomb’ the village with them. A total of 140 knitted angels were left in various places for people to find. Those that contacted us said how delighted they were to find one. Many a Christmas tree got an extra angel this year. Well done ladies!
The Angels theme for this year was further enhanced by my receiving a gift of an angel puppet to help with my school assemblies – or Collective Worship as it is more correctly called in church schools. I go into 2 First schools, normally weekly, and lead some worship with the help of Barnabas the lamb. He always has something in his box to help tell the story. I asked the children to help decide on the angel’s name. Suggestions were made from both schools and fortunately, the same name was on both lists. So her name was Rose. Or Angel Rose as I called her. I had spoken in a previous assembly about John the Baptist’s birth about the importance of names and sometimes a name reflects our character. For instance, Barnabas means encourager. I am not sure what character Angel Rose has yet. She hasn’t appeared enough for it to have developed.
Dove School’s Suggestions: Gabriel, Star, Glow, Rosie, High sky, Water wave, Windy, Zoe, Rose, Sunset, Snowflake, Cal, Marshmallow, Galaxy, Sunrise
All Saints School’s Suggestions: Reception and Nursery: Lexi, Love, Tiptoe, Crypto, Lenny. Year 1 and 2: Patience, Rose, Sausage, Chloe. Year 3 and 4: Ivy, Isaac, Bella, Ella, Patience
Here’s my worship assembly in Advent – I have just noticed I made a mistake with John the Baptist’s dad’s name…. ooops! The children had had that story the week before. The prayer and blessing at the end were sent separately to the schools for inclusion in their recorded nativities.
I was delighted when someone in the village made me a special angel facemask to wear during the festive season. And here I am, in full angel costume, leading the Crib Service on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Guess where the baby Jesus was until I put him in the crib?
Yes, the baby Jesus was in the Tesco bag. In the absence of anyone about to give birth as in the Vicar of Dibley nativity, I produced him out of the bag much to everyone’s amusement. I hadn’t been able to find a more suitable bag at short notice. I had thought about a fancy gift bag. However, I’m glad I had used the shopping bag as I was able to make the connection that although you can buy almost anything at Tesco (other supermarkets are available) the best gift of all is free and you can’t buy: Jesus.
Here’s the mask:
I am getting used to dressing up as an angel. My first 2 Christmases have found me thus attired for the usual walk through the village from the village hall, via the pub (where there is no room) to the church. I then had to make a quick get away in my car to Denstone for their service, but removing the halo first. You may notice the absence of wings. Unfortunately the elastic had withered and they had flopped down. This year I ensured they were tightly fastened and they stayed in place.
I think that is my memories of angels this year. But finally I read this piece and found it moving, so include it to encourage you. God’s angels are all around. We can’t see them, but they are there. https://www.premierchristianity.com/Past-Issues/2020/April-2020/I-saw-angels-hovering-over-my-daughter-s-body