I used to watch a puppet production of "Hansel and Gretel" as a child. It was a musical, and I particularly enjoyed the scene where the witch catches Hansel and Gretel eating from her house made of cake and candy. The children are lost in the forest because the bread crumbs they've left to guide them home were eaten by the birds.
The witch sings something like, "Nibble, nibble, mousekin, Who's nibbling at my housekin?" Another favorite part of the story is when Hansel and Gretel are afraid to go to sleep in the woods and angels sing them a sweet song about watching over them.
In the past several years, angels, particularly guardian angels, have appeared everywhere. We now have angel pins, books on angels, even bumper stickers and a television show on angels.
But I don't think they will ever totally wear out their welcome. We all yearn for a guiding light to illumine our footsteps. And angels point the way on our spiritual pathways.
The Bible says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105). It's easy just to think this statement is an old-fashioned Bible verse, not relevant to us and our need for guidance. But a gospel song made that verse such a catchy phrase that I found myself actually singing it along with the recording of the song. So I began to consider more deeply its message. God's word is a lamp unto my feet, and that word is a light guiding me in every step I take.
At the same time, though, I was standing still in the valley of indecision, and guess what? I still felt in the dark about whether to look for another job or buy a different car, or even if it was the right thing for me to go to a certain social function, really in any of my many decisions, big or small. And the clouds didn't part, a voice didn't thunder with authority, there was nada, nothing. I was like Hansel and Gretel, looking at a forest with no bread crumbs to guide me home.
Then one day I was early for my exercise class at the gym. The room was empty and dark, but as soon as I walked in, the lights came on. Later, I learned why. These lights are "motion sensor" lights. They only come on if someone is moving. If I were to stand perfectly still in that room, the lights would go off and I would be in the dark again. Lesson learned.
Sometimes you need to take a few steps to get the angel messages that will light your path. What if the decision was whether to change jobs? You might look at the employment ads, send out a few résumés. If what you find isn't right, you will not have lost anything and, in fact, you may gain a greater appreciation for the job you have or find something new.
The woman who founded this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, described angels in part as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 581).
She did not describe these thoughts or messages as coming from one particular place or person - someone with wings, for example. But she recognized that inspiration comes to us in many ways as we attune our receptivity to expect God to govern and guide our days, in small and large decisions.
I have found these signs of guidance will always make sense to you; your background, likes and dislikes will all show up in tiny threads, weaving themselves into a larger picture of guidance you can depend on as accurate, because it is a part of your own individual spiritual listening.
The good news about Hansel and Gretel is they eventually break free from the spell of the witch and find their way home. They have to confront the witch, who is pretty scary. They even have to defy her, but isn't that what making decisions and being afraid of making the "wrong" decision is all about? Your angel messages are a part of God's word, lighting your individual path. Take a step or two; watch this happen.