A few years ago, in the UK, I was touring a group of five year olds around the Parish Church. We had those big bright stained glass windows and I asked them what they could see. They came up with a few things including “Fairies”. I realized that they were calling the Angels, Fairies and, wondered, in most people’s mind, what the actual difference between and Angel and a Fairy Godmother might be.
The Bible has angels, of course, but they are either giving people messages or praising God, they really do not get explained. The word is from the word for “messenger”. Angels are heavenly messengers. It is an angel who wrestles with Jacob, Angels who visit Abraham and an Angel who turns Mary’s life upside down. Our culture does seem to have gotten a bit muddled between Fairy Godmothers – who keep their prince or princess safe and Angels who may well protect but do so in the midst of life-changing and, often unsettling, calling from God.
The truth is we do not know much about angels. We cannot fathom the mind of our infinite creator. But I do remember those children. Our faith is not a fairy-tale which dies at the first hint of adult reason. Ours enters into our whole person, warts and all, and offers to transform us. That is the message of the angels.