(A story read at the White Eagle Family Service 4.11.18)
It was the time of the annual lantern festival and all the children and adults were busy creating wonderful lanterns for the procession that evening. Some were very simple – jam jars decorated with coloured tissue paper to allow the pretty light of the candle to glow through the paper. Some were made from paper or card with lovely patterns and shapes cut out for the light to shine through. And some were amazingly constructed out of carefully bent strips of willow stuck together and covered in delicate tissue paper.
Yes, everyone was busy – everyone that is – except Rosa. Somehow she was never quite happy with how her lantern turned out and it now made her a bit reluctant to even try to make one. Instead she went outside to where the bonfire was already lit and sat and gazed into its glowing heart. She was mesmerised by the ever-changing light and glow from the embers and the flames. Time seemed to stand still as her thoughts quietened, focussed only on the light and colours of the fire.
Rather by surprise, Rosa became aware of someone sitting beside her. She hadn’t heard anyone approaching and when she looked round to see who it was, she was surprised to see that it wasn’t anyone she recognised – and yet – it was as if it was someone she knew well.
The stranger smiled at Rosa, and such a feeling of warmth and love and happiness radiated from her companion that Rosa’s heart gave a little leap! To her surprise she felt she just wanted to snuggle closer to the stranger and relax into that warmth and love.
‘My dear little Rosa’ the stranger said ‘you may not recognise me but I am our guardian angel. I’m always near you, you know, but most times you can’t see me. When you are still and peaceful and quiet, as you are now by the fire, I am able to come very close. And I’m so happy that you can actually see me today!’
Little Rosa’s heart now did a double leap – could this really be true? Here was her own guardian angel! And yet it felt so right, so natural!
The angel now put an arm around Rosa and she felt so enfolded in peace and happiness that she thought her heart would burst!
‘Dear Rosa’ said the angel again ‘ the light in that heart of yours shines very brightly you know and gets brighter and brighter every time you think kind and loving thoughts, which I know you often do! We in the world of angels and spirit can see your light – and the light in everyone’s heart – so clearly. It’s what draws us to you. And our dearest wish is to see the light in everyone’s heart shining so brightly that the world will just be full, so full, of love. Now I want to tell you something – did you know that you have a special job to do on earth? It is to let your light shine so brightly that it will touch the hearts of all those people around you whose light is now rather dim. Your loving light in the darkness of the world will give others a beacon to follow.’
All of a sudden, the thought flashed into Rosa’s mind of the light in the lanterns. She realised that – of course! That was the purpose of the lantern procession. It was to show in a very practical way how we take our little lights out into the darkness, the light of our love into the world.
As she looked around she saw that her angel was very gradually fading out of sight but leaving her with such a warm and glowing smile.
‘Now go and make your lantern, Rosa’, and remember the important work of taking your light out into the world.’
And then the angel was gone. Still Rosa’s heart was full of love and excitement and happiness as she ran back to the room where all the lanterns were being made. In no time at all Rosa had made the most beautiful lantern she had ever created, decorated with a picture of her very own guardian angel.
And as they prepared to walk around the field outside, each holding their lovingly prepared lanterns, everyone noticed the special love and light and happiness that was shining from Rosa. As they went out into the darkness, it was almost as if she didn’t need her paper lantern at all, so bright was the light shining from her heart!