A few years ago, they were giving out parts in our daughter’s school nativity.
Our local Madonna, let’s call her Zoe, told her mum what a glorious part she’d landed, far better than her best friend’s angel.
“Ofcourse I have a lot more lines than Amy,” she said.
“And I’m on all the time, and anyway everybody knows it’s much easier to be an angel than a virgin.”
It is very much easier to be an angel than a virgin, because angels, real angels, are pure energy — no bodies, no complications, no muddle, no pain.
Imagine you could see God, at the burning heart of everything, without mess or compromise.
Imagine you were so free no dirt stuck to you and nothing got in the way.
I’m not surprised God created Angels.
What’s amazing is that he ever bothered to create anything else.
But he did.
He made us all and we are all beautiful in some way to him.
It would have been easy to get the world back on track with only angels on the job.
But God decided to work through human nature, resistant materials, warts and all – the cowshed and the manger and the blood and the pain.
That way we all get a fresh start.
It is a whole lot harder to be a virgin than an angel – to try and trust God not knowing what you make of what you think you heard him say.
It is hard to value people more than things when the things are so enticing, and ego, and fear.
It isn’t easy to say yes to God.
It never was.
But two things we know from the Christmas story – it’s worth it, and we can be part of the story when, resistant materials that we are, we let ourselves love, and trust, and become new people, from the inside out.
Our time has come.
A new world begins from right where we are, and the time to start is now.