angel

I hadn’t realised until I started doing some research for this post, but almost every world faith has stories about angels. For me, this makes them even more incredible.

They always seem to be supernatural creatures, often having a human shape. I am used to thinking of angels as being a beautiful human with enormous feathered wings, surrounded by a divine light. I am also used to thinking of them as part of the story of the Christmas story where they deliver important messages to Mary, to tell her she is going to give birth to Jesus, and delivering news of the birth of Christ to the shepherds. Almost always in every faith, angels are there to deliver messages from God to Human Beings.

Many faiths also believe in guardian angels, appointed to look after specific people.

I drew a picture of one way of making a paper angel for you this week. I was thinking that this simple papercraft project would make nice decorations and cards and gift tags and something lovely to put on the Christmas tree.

Now that we have entered Tier 4 and we have had to adapt our Christmas plans, the idea of us all sharing angels in our homes is strangely moving. There is a story-like comfort in each of us having an angel to look after us.

Julian of Norwich was a Holy Woman who was born in 1343 and lived in Norwich. The city suffered tremendously from the Black Death and the Peasants Revolt or Great Rising, which was an uprising of the ordinary people in England who were suffering socially and financially from the after effects of the Plague and the fallout from the conflict between England and France. The reason I am mentioning Julian (or Juliana) is that she wrote a lot. One of her most famous prayers finishes like this, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” For me this is a reminder that things might feel rubbish, but there is always something good out there to fix my eyes and thoughts on.

To all of you who celebrate a faith and to those of you who follow your own path, please stay wise and strong. And let’s hope for a peaceful year ahead.

*By the way King Richard 2nd met with Watt Tyler, one of the leaders of the Great Uprising in Mile End and agreed to meet many of their demands. That makes me quite proud to live in this corner of Tower Hamlets.


paperlantern

We used to make paper lanterns like this when I was at school.

I seem to remember holding a little torch inside them to see the light fan out in stripes across the room.

It felt utterly magical, this feeling of making something to shape and cast light into a winter room.

icelantern

A friend taught me how to make ice lanterns.

These are made from tin cans, all cleaned out and with the labels removed.

(Do be careful not to cut your fingers on the sharp edge where the top of the can used to be.)

Fill the tin to the top with water and put itin the freezer until it is solid.

Hold it with a tea towel to stop your fingers burning with the coldness. Then hammer holes into it in patterns with nails, pulling the nails out when each hole is made. It will not collapse under the hammering because the ice let’s the tin hold its shape.

When you are happy with the pattern of holes that you have made, leave the tin in a place when the ice can thaw and drain away.

Let it dry, remember again that the puncture holes will leave sharp edges that will cut you, so take care.

Pop a lighted tea light candle into the bottom of the tin and it will send sparkles and shards of light out through the holes that you made.

This is a beautiful and safe way to use candles, especially outside to make starry patterns in the world around you.