For many years my constant prayer has been this, "Lord, I Believe, Help Thou My Unbelief" (Mark 9:24). I am a doubter, a skeptic, always have been, although I wish the gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to me easily, quickly, powerfully, strongly. My relationship with God, with the Church, is complicated; I sometimes wonder what my place is in my church community. I pray and pray and pray, asking for a miracle that will alleviate my skepticism, for one solid answer that will alleviate my doubting and allow me to quit asking. Yet I question - test everything, hold onto the good (1 Thes 5:21). And miraculously (simply) in my questioning, in my skepticism, I have found good.
I want to particularly share with you my story of the errand of angels, my story of glad tidings. I want to teach you why you are an angel and how you can produce miracles.
First of all, what is an angel? Is an angel a physical being here on earth, right now - me and you? Is an angel a loved one who has passed on, who becomes our guardian? Is an angel an unborn child, who has made his/her existence manifest to us? I believe they are all 3. I love the idea that angels can span time, place, being - being anywhere, anytime, any way we need them.
I think a good place to begin this conversation is right here, studying this beautiful Brian Kershisnik piece, The Nativity. What do you see first? Who else is here? The white angels, I believe, are those angels hastening to tell the story, to sing Gloria, The Christ is Born. There is motion here, they are on the move - saw what they needed to see, and now moving forward to share the news - glad tidings - bringing joy is their errand.
There are some angels who have stayed behind - Joseph - what an amazing angel. Called of God to be Christ's role model here on earth, Mary's husband and strength. I believe he is an angel, he's there by her side, arm on shoulder - bringing comfort - a physical touch can so often be comforting, healing, sharing.
We see Mary - she is in need of some comfort and joy. She has Joseph, she has God and all the powers that come with that partnership, but wouldn't you want your mom, your best friend, a nurse, a midwife to hold your hand, see you through the birth of your first child?
Next we see two women. Kershisnik says these two women are midwives. I love this. They have a container, looks like a bucket of water, rinsing a birthing cloth. Unlike the angels who are swishing by, going out to spread the joy, these two angels are staying close by, giving comfort, and they are helping Mary and Joseph find joy in this moment.
How did these two women know to come? We can speculate - maybe the innkeeper contacted them, regardless, these women were prepared, and they answered - I believe they answered Mary and Joseph's prayer that she not give birth alone. They were on that very important errand of angels - and they acted. We are vehicles to prayers - if we are prepared.