Photo courtesy of myopera
Victoria’s, snow and heavenly
Angels float over our
winter landscape as imprints in the snow–snow angels; snuggle into our
lingerie drawers courtesy of Victoria’s Secret and ring through our
consciousness at the sounding of bells, thanks to It’s a Wonderful
Life, where little Zuzu Bailey asserts that “Every time a bell rings,
an angel gets its wings.” Touched by an Angel was watched by 24
million people for nine years. The interest in angels is abiding.
68 Percent of Americans believe in angels
According to a Pew Survey,
nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) believe in angels. They believe
that angels and demons are active in the world. Majorities of Jehovah’s
Witnesses (78%), members of evangelical (61%) and historically black
(59%) Protestant churches, and Mormons (59%) are completely convinced
of the existence of angels and demons. In stark contrast, majorities of
Jews (73%), Buddhists (56%), Hindus (55%) and the unaffiliated (54%) do
not believe that angels and demons are active in the world.
Another poll found that more people believe in the devil, hell and angels
than believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution:
That very large majorities of the American public believe in God,
miracles, the survival of the soul after death, the resurrection of
Jesus Christ, and the Virgin birth will come as no great surprise. What
may be more surprising is that substantial minorities believe in ghosts,
UFOs, witches, astrology, and the belief that they themselves were once
other people. Overall, more people believe in the devil, hell and angels
than believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Photo courtesy of
The belief in angels spans cultures and centuries
Guardian angels, supposedly protective spirits, have been common to the religious beliefs of many cultures. The earliest depiction of an angel–or the precursor of angels–may be the winged figure on an ancient Sumerian stele. Other precursors may be the giant, winged, supernatural beings, part human and part animal, that guarded ancient Assyrian temples and so may have served as models for the conception of angels as protectors.
Indonesian guardian angels such as this are hung over infants’ cribs and the beds of small children to supposedly safeguard them as they sleep.
The long history we have with these winged
creatures–real or imagined–continues to shape and inform
interpretations of events and to color world views.
Colleen Hughes, editor of Angels on Earth told CBS News that she
believes most people believe in angels “because too much stuff happens
to us that we can’t explain. There are coincidences that we’re willing
to chalk up to coincidence, and there’s too much that we aren’t,
because we have this feeling that it was something else.”
Tom Elliott and his son Zack believe they met an angel at a San Francisco Giants baseball game and that he gave them tickets:
Zack’s a huge Giants fan, just like his dad, and his dad’s dad (whom they called “Pa”).
“I said someday we’ll be able to see a game together, the three of us, the three generations,” Tom said.
But Pa died before they ever got the chance. They were still in mourning when a friend offered Tom two tickets to a game. But when they got to the box office, the tickets couldn’t be found.
“We backed away from the window, kind of looked at each other in total despair, not really sure what we were gonna do,” said Tom.
That’s when a stranger approached:
“He said, ‘I’ve got 2 tickets for you here,'” Tom recalled. “‘I want your young son to see the game,’ and he just handed us two tickets. And as we looked down at the tickets, he turned around and walked away. Before we could barely even say ‘thank you.'”
But there’s more to the story. The seats were some of the best in the house, right above home plate – and there were not 2, but 3 of them. In a sold-out stadium, one seat stayed empty the entire game.
“I said, ‘Man, what a great seat like that and a great game and nobody sat there?’ And then Zack turned to me.”
“I said, ‘Dad, someone was sitting there the whole time.’ We got to finally watch a game with Pa. That was the best game possible.”
“Is it possible that the guy who gave him the tickets could have just been a nice guy, not an angel?” Smith asked.
“Well, Tracy, what I would ask you is, ‘Does it matter?'” Grinnan said. “I mean, it’s the interpretation of Tom and his son that really does matter. And to them, that man was an angel. He performed an angelic deed, if you will. And his actual origins I don’t think are as relevant as the effect that that deed had on those two people.”
From “messenger” to “sweetheart”
The word “angel” comes from the Greek word for messenger. It’s become a term of endearment. Imagine using the terms “delivery person,” or “UPS guy,” or “courier” as a term of endearment. Yet, the ideas of goodness and superlative beauty that we have come to associate with the word angel perfectly explain the etymology.
You call me angel
Annette Marie Hyder
From the consequence of wings (on angels and monsters and other winged things)