I gently pried the angel figurine from her mouth and spoke a feeble, “Bad dog,” which I’m sure didn’t do much good in the puppy training department, especially as it was topped with a loving kiss on her head. I placed the “angel-turned-chew-toy” safely on a high shelf and went back to work in my home office.
Later that night, as I passed the shelf, I stopped and stared at the angel. While she was battered with puppy teeth marks and now missing her wings, she was still the picture of serenity with her head gracefully bowed down and hands folded in prayer. In fact, I found her even more beautiful than when I first received her as a gift. She was beautiful because I saw a reflection of myself in her battered state. I saw the reflection of those I was called to serve. I saw the reflection of all humankind — for aren’t we all bruised and battered?
Yet, no matter what scars or sins we carry, there is someone who sees beyond the surface and sees our beauty: Jesus, God’s gift to us. He came to show us how to forgive and be forgiven; and because of that grace, we, too, can be serene knowing we are worthy.
This time of year, while a multitude of the heavenly hosts sing a soaring chorus of “Glory to God in the highest,” my battered prayer angel sings a different song to me. It goes like this: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. This Advent, may we allow our battered selves to recognize that no matter what, God always finds us. No matter what, God keeps on loving us.
Loving God, I bring to you my battered soul. Life has been chewing me up lately, yet you see me: you see the beauty, the hope and the goodness within. Thank you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Recall a time when you felt battered, worn down, misunderstood or rejected. Who was the “angel” who came to your side and revived you?