we are not putting an angel on top of our Christmas tree

After my post on Archangel Michael, Dragon Slayer, I felt inspired to write a few more musings on angels. I had initially tossed this post, but after exchanging comments with my friend Karen over the Mad Cap Christian Scientist I decided to un-trash this post and see if I’d be hit by any inspiration.

Karen starts her post with an MBE quote about Angels, and while I do like what her post has to say about the issue, I am still not convinced to put a murdering psychopath on top our Christmas tree, regardless of what Ms. Eddy says about their wings and motivations. I also question the nature of the “God” who sends such beings. 

Angels are not etherealized human beings, evolving  animal qualities in their wings; but they are celestial  visitants, flying on spiritual, not material, pinions. Angels are pure thoughts from God, winged with Truth and Love, no matter what their individualism may be. Human conjecture confers upon angels  its own forms of thought, marked with superstitious outlines, making them human creatures with suggestive feathers; but this is only fancy. – Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about angels, and that we are not putting an angel on top of our Christmas tree (yes, we are having a “Christmas” tree).

The notion of angels spans both centuries and religious traditions, and if you want to go into all that, the wikipedia page on Angels is a fascinating read. The simple truth is, angels make me uncomfortable. Growing up one of my closest friends believed that angels were (often) deceased relatives who watch over us and protect us – she had a large collection of deceased relatives, and they regularly “intervened” on her behalf, watching over her while she was going about her day-to-day activities.

Of course all of her deceased family lived Upstanding Lives so of course they ended up as angels. That’s great and all, but the German Industrial Metal band Rammstein tells us in their song Engel (Angel)

Wer zu Lebzeit gut auf Erden   (those who live well on Earth)
Wird nach dem Tod ein Engel werden    (will after death become Angels)

Those who live well on earth will become angels in death, they live alone and in fear behind the clouds. They must hold tightly to the stars so they don’t fall out of the heavens – I’m not sure if they mean “heaven” like the opposite of hell, or heaven like sky/celestial body/space in the clouds, either way. I can’t say I want to end up an angel either. Lyrics in both the original German and an English translation (with notes) below.

Rammstein’s lonely, fearful angels make me uncomfortable, and then there are the Weeping Angels from the Dr. Who episode Blink. They are terrifying. As The Doctor explains:

“Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss, they just zap you into the past and let you live to death. The rest of your life used up and blown away in the blink of an eye. You die in the past, and in the present they consume the energy of all the days you might have had, all your stolen moments. They’re creatures of the abstract. They live off potential energy.”


To stay alive you must remember:

Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.

A murdering psychopath on top of my Christmas tree in the middle of my living room? I’ll pass.

Finally, we come to Ms. Eddy’s notion of Angels in Science and Health:

ANGELS. God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.

I’m fine with the idea of being inspired to goodness and purity, but I don’t think that “God” (or any other higher power) is thinking thoughts my way. Immortality is a grey zone as Ms. Eddy has her own ideas on the issue, and I take issue with sensuality being lumped in with evil and mortality.

Ms. Eddy says quite a bit about angels, and her ideas make for interesting reading – of particular interest is that when Man demonstrates CS properly, he will be like the angels. This is quite amusing given what she has to say about that in her chapter on Marriage*

  • Furthermore, the time cometh of which Jesus spake, when he declared that in the resurrection there should be no more marrying nor giving in marriage, but man would be as the angels. Then shall Soul rejoice in its own, in which passion has no part. Then white-robed purity will unite in one person masculine wisdom and feminine love, spiritual understanding and perpetual peace. (S&H p. 64)

Ms. Eddy gives us mind-control angels, and the promise of a passionless post-Resurrection experience, Dr. Who gives us the Weeping Angels, and Rammstein’s angels are depressing. With these images etched in my mind, there is no way an angel will sit atop our Christmas tree this year.

* For more on Ms. Eddy’s marital views: https://kindism.org/2013/06/13/the-formation-of-mortals/ and https://kindism.org/2013/07/11/wipes-out-the-belief-of-material-husband/

Weeping Angel gif via google image search, apologies to the original source.

Engel – Rammstein

Songwriters: Riedel, Oliver / Lorenz, Doktor Christian / Schneider, Christoph Doom / Kruspe, Richard Z. / Landers, Paul / Lindemann, Till
Wer zu Lebzeit gut auf Erden
Wird nach dem Tod ein Engel werden
Den Blick Ògen Himmel fragst du dann
Warum man sie nicht sehen kann
Erst wenn die Wolken schlafengehn
Kann man uns am Himmel sehn
Wir haben Angst und sind allein
Gott weiss ich will kein Engel sein
Sie leben hinterm Horizont
Getrennt von uns unendlich weit
Sie mussen sich an Sterne krallen (ganz fest)
Damit sie nicht vom Himmel fallen
Erst wenn die Wolken schlafengehn
Kann man uns am Himmel sehn
Wir haben Angst und sind allein
Gott weiss ich will kein Engel sein

Angel – Rammstein

Live in virtue, no desire  (Those who live well on earth) – my translation of original lyrics
In the grave an angel’s choir   (Will become angels after death)
You look to heaven and wonder why
No one can see them in the sky

Just as the clouds have gone to sleep
Angels can be seen in heavens keep
Alone in fear they question why
God knows I don’t want to be an angel

Angels live, they never die
Apart from us, behind the sky
They’re fading souls who’ve turned to ice – They must hold on to the stars (very tightly)
So ashen white in paradise – So that they don’t fall from the heavens

Just as the clouds have gone to sleep
Angels can be seen in heavens keep
Alone in fear they question why
God knows I don’t want to be an angel


10 thoughts on “we are not putting an angel on top of our Christmas tree

  1. Bijbelvorsers says:

    People who are death can not do anything any more. Once a person dies he becomes dust again and is nothing again. He can not do anything with all the treasures he or she saved in his or her lifetime.

    The angels, celestial being can see what happens in the world, but the mediator between living man and God is Jesus Christ, not they.

    • kat @ kindism says:

      Bijbelvorsers, thank you for your insights, I’ve spent some time at your website (sadly, my Dutch is non-existent, but I did skim the parts in English), and I was curious to know what religious tradition you follow. I see that you are no longer Catholic (http://bijbelvorser.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/bijbelvorser-looking-for-ways-to-reach-others/), and I was wondering which branch of Protestantism (if any) you were following. I look forward to exploring your blog further! Thanks for stopping by.

      • Bijbelvorsers says:

        I am a Christadelphian and as such belonging to the non-trinitarian protestans, believing in only One God, Jehovah and in His son Jeshua (Jesus Christ) which we consider to be the Messiah who only did the will of his Father (and not his will) and gave his life, for the salvation of all people. By grace we all can be saved, but we do have to accept Jesus as the son of God, adhere to his teachings and to God His commandments.

      • kat @ kindism says:

        I haven’t come across “Christadelphian” before so I looked it up on wikipedia and christadelphia.org. I’d say we are at opposite ends of the religious spectrum, but I find your blog fascinating.

  2. Bijbelvorsers says:

    Those who believe in Jesus being the Christ or Messiah, the send prophet by God, should try to follow this Jewish man his teachings and abstain from all the pagan celebrations like Christmas, Easter, Halloween a.o. and certainly may not make any decorations of celestial beings or of God.

  3. jasonjshaw says:

    Rammstein! That brings back some garage band memories! Saw a video of one of their live performances once, they know how to put on a show!

    As for angels, those are some interesting perspectives to draw from! It’s interesting how some things that we may have become accustomed to having a certain meaning can have a drastically different meaning in other viewpoints and cultures.

    • kat @ kindism says:

      Rammstein is awesome, they got me through some very dark times.

      We saw a slightly-secularized “nativity” puppet show the other day and the “angels” who brought down the baby looked eerily similar to the first spirit in a Muppet Christmas Carol (http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/christmas-carol/1992-mupp-past.jpg)… the kid loved it, I was totally creeped out.

      I thought Bijbelvorsers perspective was interesting, Christians “certainly may not make any decorations of celestial beings or of God” so now I’m almost ok with an angel, but I’d like to be able to turn my back on the tree.

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