Have you ever read The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell? It’s an old book. In fact, I was in elementary school the first time I heard a classmate’s mother read it on Christmas Eve at church. Even at that early age, its message made an impact on me. When I ran across the book this week, I sat right down and read it again.
I haven’t heard anything about this story in a long time, which makes me wonder if it may now be considered inappropriate for children. After all, its main character is a little boy who at “four years, six months, 7 hours and 42 minutes” finds himself an angel in heaven.
I don’t remember focusing on the thought that he had to die to get there the first time I heard it. Although I couldn’t have put it in so many words then, it was the life lessons woven throughout the story that appealed to me. The Littlest Angel deals with timeless issues that all children face as they move from the security of home into the larger world.
From The Littlest Angel’s pretense of defiance as he fights back fearful tears, to his wrinkled robe, crooked halo and boisterous antics, he represents the most vulnerable side of each of us. When the havoc he creates in heaven eventually lands the tiny cherub in the Office of Heavenly Justice, he’s surprised to meet the Understanding Angel instead of a stern judge. Imagine his surprise when that angel places him on his lap and invites him to pour out his heart. The Littlest Angel is homesick. (Who hasn’t been homesick? Remember the misery?)
After patiently listening, the Understanding Angel asks what would make the Littlest Angel most happy. In reply, he tells him about a small box he left under his bed in his room at home. The Understanding Angel sends for the box, which once in the cherub’s possession, seems to help him adjust.
When the time comes for Jesus to be born, all the inhabitants of heaven prepare wonderful gifts for him. Only the Littlest Angel feels he doesn’t have anything worthy to present to the Christ Child. Can you guess what he ends up offering?
It’s only at the end of the story when God choses and opens that humble little box that we’re told what’s inside. Its contents will warm your heart, and the honor God bestows upon the gift will make you smile.
As children often do, the Littlest Angel somehow understands the importance of giving Jesus the greatest treasures of his heart. I hope you’ll revisit or search out The Littlest Angel as we prepare for this Season of our Savior’s Birth. It will take you back to the true meaning of giving.
This is how God showed his love among us:
He sent his one and only Son into the world that
we might live through him.
Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved