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Dierdre The Christmas Angel

by  scribbler121

Posted: Monday, January 19, 2004
Word Count: 2579
Summary: The First in a series of short stories telling of the adventures of hapless novice Angel Dierdre

Deirdre The Christmas Angel

Anselm rushed along the corridor with great speed, His white robes flapping behind him, making him look for all the world like a ship in full sail. In his arms he carried a huge pile of papers that rustled as he scuttled along. Deirdre on the other hand had just left her room, and was making her way with stately progress from the other end of the long corridor. Her mind was far away, and on her face she wore an expression of benign peace and tranquillity. Yes- dear reader, you have guessed it, disaster was only just around the corner, so to speak. As Deirdre floated along in her reverie, Anselm flew along, and around the corner straight into Deirdre’s arms. Papers went everywhere, and as the two figures disentangled themselves from the heap of white fabric that was their robes, copies of Anselm’s work fluttered down to the ground around them.
“Deirdre what in Heavens name are you doing creeping around like that!” said Anselm as his head popped out of the arm of his robe.
Deirdre sat up and looked at the ridiculous figure of Anselm sitting there on the floor turning a slightly purple colour as the fabric tightened around his neck. With a great effort she managed to suppress the giggle that threatened to erupt from her, and looked at the Choir Master with an innocent smile. “Hello Anselm, I have been sent by Robert to come and audition for the special choir that you are organising.”
“ Have you indeed” muttered Anselm not sounding overly enthusiastic about the prospect.
“And just what have I done to deserve so great a pleasure”, it was well known amongst the other Angels that Deirdre was experiencing difficulty in finding her wings, she had recently moved from the banner making department after it was discovered that she had made a whole batch of heavenly banners that she had carefully and lovingly woven with the words THE LOUD OF HOTS instead of THE LORD OF HOSTS!!
When they had been delivered to Michael, Captain of the Lords Army, it was not until the Angelic Host was actually on parade that the mistake had been noticed. Michael was beside himself, and had to take two days to recover his saintly patience.
Fortunately for Deirdre, he had not managed to catch up with her just yet, but Michael was well known for the length of his memory, and stiff words could not be far off. Well dear reader, you may think that Michael was a bit harsh, which would be true if this were just one incident, but sad to tell, it was just one of many. Deirdre’s stay in the Cherub nursery was cut short when she lost six of them, last seen floating away on a cloud. Luckily two passing Seraphs saw them, and brought them back- cloud and all. Her six weeks in the robe-making department was cut short when it was discovered that many of the new angelic robes were so short as to be almost indecent. No, it had to be admitted, Deirdre was not an immediate Angelic success, and word soon passed around the corridors of Heaven that when Deirdre sailed into view, disaster was usually in her wake. And so here we are, disaster, wake, and all, in the corridors of Heaven with Anselm, Master of the Angelic Choir, and Deirdre, trainee Angel, trying desperately to earn her wings, and it has to be said, failing miserably. So they both sat. master and pupil, Anselm staring balefully at the pitiful figure of Deirdre amidst her dishevelled robes, and Deirdre peering back from beneath the fringe of her golden hair, waiting to be told to go away, and never darken the corridor again.
Anselm stared around him at the pages of the hand lettered music that now lay in spectacular disorder around him. Suddenly his heart melted as he looked at the rather pathetic figure sitting before him.
“Come on Deirdre, it was only an accident, give me a hand to pick all of these sheets up, and we’ll go to the practice together.”
Deirdre looked up at the kindly master, and her face broke into the sunniest beam that she could manage.
“ O thank you Anselm, I am so sorry, I just turned the corner and then……well……BANG! There you were music and er……..all.” Anselm smiled, it was very hard to be cross with Deirdre for long, because truth to tell, she was a very well meaning trainee Angel. She had perhaps the greatest gift of all for a trainee, a heart of pure gold. So there they sat, master and trainee, picking up the music, and replacing it into the correct order. Within a short space of time (as if time mattered in the Heavenly realm!!) all of the music was back in Anselm’s arms, and together they strode off to the Choir Room. As you know, Heaven is simply huge and has many rooms, one of the best to be in, apart from the actual throne room, where only fully fledged Angels with their full set of wings were allowed to go, was the music room where the Angelic Choir practiced. Any one could be in the Heavenly Choir, and indeed most angels were very good singers indeed. There were sections for Cherubs, who sang with joy each time a new baby was born on earth. there were sections for the Angels of Eternal Grace, who sang worthy souls to their Eternal Rest, and sections for the Seraphim who sang in the very Throne Room of the Lord Himself. Heaven you see is a place full of the most wonderful music. That together with extremely good weather, desirable housing, and wonderful gardens, makes it a very attractive place to be, and Peter, who was in charge of the gates, had a full time job with his staff in assessing new applicants for places within the heavenly realm. As you can imagine, such a place would prove to be extremely popular, but it never appeared to be crowded, and all who wanted to could book their place. To be truthful it did seem to most to be a better option than the other Alternative! It is do you see dear reader a magical and tranquil place.
Anselm and Deirdre made their way along the long corridor to the very heart of the Heavenly Kingdom. The Choir Room was here because such was the beauty of the music that it could be heard all over the Realm. Such was its power that wherever you went, people smiled in that very annoying way that takes new folk by surprise, and makes them want to do the most un-angelic things. This idea soon passes as the sheer beauty of the music wipes away all doubts and fears, and just plain old glum feelings. Most of the time, I say MOST of the time, because very rarely there appears and Angel who with the very best effort, simply, just cannot sing a note. Can you guess where this is leading us? Yes dear reader, Deirdre.
Upon entering the room Anselm looked up at the assembled Choir and placed Deirdre into position with a group of experienced Angel Carollers. He took his place at the head of the room, lifted his arms, and signalled the Cherubs with their harps and horns to begin playing. With a glance at the Choir he brought them in at the point of a magnificent and glorious crescendo. The noise was awful. Anselm fell off his podium, and several of the more experienced Angels fluttered to the rafters in alarm.
“SILENCE” thundered Anselm. In all of the years that he had been master of the Heavenly Choir, no one had ever heard him raise hi voice, let alone thunder. He picked himself up ( for the second time that day!!) and scowled at the host before him.
“What in Paradise name was THAT”
Every one was silent, and Anselm glared around him. Gradually all eyes turned to the source of the cacophony, and yes, you’ve guessed it. It was Deirdre. She stood there and shrugged her shoulders, “What”
“Deirdre, sweetness, come here” he said through gritted teeth,” come to Anselm” The Choir Master beckoned and opened his arms.
Not having wings, Deirdre picked her way to Anselm’s lofty podium.
“You can’t sing can you” he said wearily shaking his head.
“ Not especially” Deirdre replied. At this several titters were heard from the choir stalls, Anselm stared at them, and the titters died down. As he looked back at Deirdre he could see her shoulders sag, and a great big tear made its way down her cheek. This simply would not do. Sadness in Heaven- unheard of.
“ Cheer up, and return to your place, I shall have a special job for you” with that he gave her a great big hug. Deirdre looked up at him, sadness filled her pretty Angelic face,
“ I shall never get my wings will I” she sobbed
Anselm smiled, “I’m sure you will”
“But I can’t do anything right”
“Hush” He wiped away her tears with the sleeve of his robe, “ I have a feeling that everything will turn out just fine, things up here tend to move in mysterious ways. Now go back to your place, I have a special job for you.”
Once Deirdre had resumed her place, Anselm tapped his baton and lifted his arms.
“Now Choir listen up. W have a very special job to do, on the 25th of next month. On earth we are going to perform at a special occasion. For this one time, the entire Choir will sing together.” At this news murmuring broke out all over the choir. Never before had the entire choir sang together. This was a first indeed. What could it all mean.
Anselm coughed, “silence please. I can tell you no more than that. I have here the music for the occasion; now concentrate for we have to work very hard indeed, if we are to be ready.
For the next month the Angelic Choir worked feverishly, and the whole realm rang to the sound of scales, and riffs, and musical themes of all kinds. Such music had never been heard before. One voice however was silent. As the days passed Deirdre never sang a note, each time the choir met, she would look up eagerly for Aselm to give her a piece to sing, but he never did. As the day approached Deirdre became sadder and sadder. Her shoulders drooped, and she knew that she would not be included in the Choir for the Special occasion.
The great day dawned, and a hum of excitement was to be felt all across heaven. Halos were polished with care, each of the Choir had new robes, and the Cherubs all had new golden harps and horns. Each one was full of anticipation for the surprise, and no one had the slightest idea just what the special occasion could be.
The Choir were told to assemble at the doorway to the great Throne Room and await instructions. Anselm arrived and beckoned the Choir to silence. A great hush descended. After a time that seemed like an age, the great doors opened to the Throne Room and golden light shone all around. A light so bright that none could look upon it. It shone through the door, and descended from Heaven itself. As the light made its way to earth, the angels stared in wonder, and Anselm proudly bade the Angelic Choir to join the shaft of light and follow it down. He saw Deirdre standing some way off, and as she caught his eye, he motioned for her to join him. With a look of sheer surprise she hurried over to where he stood, and Anselm pointed to where the light had come to rest. Deirdre looked, and as she grew accustomed to the scene around her, she saw that the light rested on a tatty old shed, with a large tree to one side of it. Puzzled she looked up at Anselm and said, “ Whatever do you want ME to do”
“I want you to go and sit at the top of that tree, when the time is right, you will know what to do”
Deirdre’s heart sank, now she knew that she would never sing with the Choir, but being an Angel full of obedience, she did as she was told, and as she sat at the top of the tree she gazed at the scene around her.
In the old shed she saw some animals, all munching away on their hay, and in one corner she saw a man and a woman laying on some old rags. As she watched she saw that the woman was very ill, because she was crying and in great pain. The man looked at her with deep love. Deirdre marvelled at what she saw, but was very confused. She looked across at Anselm and as she was about to speak he put hi finger to his lips, and then pointed to the woman. Deirdre looked, and saw that the woman was not ill at all, but was having a baby. All of this fuss and trouble for one more tiny baby?
After a time Deirdre heard a loud cry, and the Heavenly Choir began to sing all of the beautiful music that they had been practicing so hard. She looked at the woman and the baby, and saw that the light from Heaven had come to rest on the tiny child. With a sudden gasp, she realised that she knew the small child, and everything became clear. The reason for all of the practicing, and the special music, the new robes, and instruments, It all fell into place. Everything now became crystal clear, and with a final look at Anselm who smiled at her, she stood up and looked towards the baby. With a clear voice she called out,
“Fear not For unto you is born this day a child of David’s Line, and you shall call Him Emmanuel.” She had not a clue why she said it, it just seemed right. And then the most wonderful thing happened, as she spoke she rose gracefully into the air, and a magnificent pair of golden wings unfurled around her. As she rose she moved over the child and all of a sudden she too became bathed in the golden light from Heaven. As her wings wafted backwards and forwards, a gentle breeze played over the family below. Anselm called out to her, “ Well done Deirdre, today you are an Angel. For all time people will remember you, and each year as they celebrate the birth of this boy, they will place you at the top of the tree as a reminder to all of the special baby, and this special day”
Deirdre’s heart was fit to burst with pride and joy; Deirdre the trainee Angel had her wings. She could not sew, she could not sing, she could not even spell. BUT… she would be remembered for all time as Deirdre the Christmas Angel, herald of the birth of the Christ Child, and forever more, people would look up at their Christmas trees, and sing……….

Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the New Born King.

Peter H Leadbeater.