CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
[I wrote this seven years ago, when we lived on Riverview Drive in Sterling, IL.]
My wife is not God for the little creatures that come to the magnolia tree just outside our living room window, since she did not create them, but she is an angel, The Peanut Butter Angel.
It’s been a bitterly cold month, so Helen has taken on the messy and frigid task of smearing peanut butter on pinecones, rolling them in birdseed, and hanging them from branches on the magnolia. A bevy of birdies comes each day to feast–cardinals and sparrows and chickadees and juncos and grackles. Actually, I don’t know what a grackle is, but those black birds that come look grackly. They are augmented, of course, by a regiment of squirrels. Our eight-year-old grandson claims he can tell them apart and has named each of them.
Jumpy and Hoppy and Flighty and the others may have seen The PB Angel hang pinecones on the tree, but that’s the most they know about her. Even then, they probably did not make the connection between this heavily bundled and muffled earthbound thing, so different from themselves, and the good stuff that appears for them to eat. It just appears, like manna, and they eat it and, I’m sure, are glad.
I’m not sure about the reality of other angels, the kind many people accept as heavenly beings who somehow look over us and look out for us human beings. Since I have seen The PB Angel at work, however, I am more inclined to believe there may be other sorts of angels at work as well.
Perhaps my understanding of the work of heavenly angels is no greater than the birds’ comprehension of The PB Angel. Maybe, when heavenly angels hear us humans laugh at the creatures with “birdbrains,” they laugh and call us “humanbrains,” with the same dismissal of our mental abilities. Perhaps the gap between humanbrains and angels is as great as the gap between birdbrains and humans.
If heavenly angels exist and are at work, it makes no difference whether I believe in them or not. They’ll do their angelic thing just because they are angels. The birds don’t have to believe in The PB Angel to get her to look after them. The PB Angel does her thing just because she’s an angel.
John Robert McFarland
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where people are Yoopers [UPers] and life is defined by winter even in the summer!
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I tweet, occasionally, as yooper1721.