Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Question of Angels

I've wondered about something for years now.  Every now and then I come across a tree ornament that has an angel on skis.

Now, I have several of these cheaply-made wooden ornaments on the mini tree I use at work. I have snowmen, Santa Claus, elves, and angels.  Some of the angels are playing instruments, one is riding a rocking horse, one is in a little house.  Then there is this one in the picture on the left.

It is an angel on skis.  Don't let the lack of halo fool you.  It has to be an angel as it has wings.  Now my question is this:  Why would an angel be skiing? If I had wings, I'd be flying. Wouldn't you?

Angels are an interesting subject to me. Now, granted, I don't believe they exist but I'm fascinated with the various depictions of them both modern and ancient.

In the Bible (unless I'm mistaken) all the angels who have names appear to be male.  Gabriel and Michael come to mind.   In fact, even those who aren't named seem to be male, as well.  For example, the two who visit Lot and his family are mistaken by other townspeople as men so they must be male - or appear to be male. (Genesis 19) No mention of wings on them, either.

I checked around the internet and could only find one reference to possible female angels in the Bible and they had wings, as well - but were not actually called angels.  (Zechariah 5:9, if you are curious.)  This seems to be a controversy as explained here where the author also poo-poos the modern versions of angels.  I guess just having fun with the idea of angels living among us for the sake of entertainment is not something the author approves of.

Modern depictions of angels invariably have wings and are female - generally with long hair. I found this website that explains that some angels do have wings and some don't.  This site implies that they don't have wings, however. I guess that explains that - though they both mention that angels are spirits and spirits shouldn't need wings so... yeah.  Clear as mud.

I should mention that angels appear in other religions, as well.  Wikipedia has an article on angels that goes into detail if you are interested.

I do have to wonder what changed that caused people started depicting angels as women with wings. Must be one of life's little mysteries - though I'm betting that it has something to do with an advertising campaign or something.  After all, that's where we got Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer!

 And yes.  I wonder about skiing angels, as well.

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