Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Little Angel

Our little angel is celebrating her 59th Christmas. For years and years she has been a part of our family’s holiday tradition atop our tree.

Long ago, back in 1950, the angel first came to life in my parent’s apartment. My Mom and Dad had just moved into a small four-and-a-half room flat and began to decorate for their first Christmas. They had a fresh, small tree that sat atop a coffee table in a tree stand with Santa’s picture on it. It was a warm, cozy and quiet time.

World War II had just ended and things were getting back to normal. Hope filled the air. My parents had just bought their first TV set, but did not have a lot of money. They had only one set of Christmas lights. They were called Noma lights and they had old fashioned big bulbs in many colors. My Dad patiently twisted little pieces of wire to attach the lights to the tree. Instead of buying reflectors for the lights, my parents made star-shaped ones from miniature aluminum pie plates they had saved. A few ornaments and a little silver tinsel and gold garland created a quite respectable tree.

On top of the tree sat the little angel. Without a sound, the angel’s soft expression offered the same peace and tranquility you might feel walking outside into a new snow. Thankful for every little thing, my parents felt peace and contentment like the joy the wise men offered Mary. It was a Christmas to remember.

The years flew by as I was born and grew tall. Each and every year, we would decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. My Mom, my Dad and I would finish just before midnight. We would see the Pope celebrating mass on TV and I would be allowed to open just one present. Off to sleep I would go wondering what might be found under the tree in the morning. Sometimes the top of the tree would be shared with an illuminated star, but the angel always held an authoritative position seated on a high prominent branch. She brought a warm glow to all who saw her.

As I moved on to my first house, the angel followed. By now her presence was expected as an assured ornament atop the tree. It wasn’t Christmas without her. There she would be smiling down upon us year after year. As time went by her little wooden face darkened but her rosy cheeks and expression never faded. Her golden adornments still caught the light each time you passed. With such authority she stood watching over her flock of the faithful.

Decades later, the little angel watches over my own loving family throughout every holiday season. Country vistas create a beautiful background for our tree. The lights and ornaments have changed over the years but the happiness remains. Life is good and filled with joy. New young faces delight with presents upon presents on Christmas morning. Celebration follows us wherever we go.

By surprise, I actually discovered a little ceramic statue of a woman with a scarf over her head and a long blue cloak that looks remarkably like our trusty angel. I’m sure she must be a long-lost sister! My yearly Christmas wish is to have the little angel visit with us for decades to come. God bless the little angel who watches over us!

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