Barometer

Barometer: (n) an instrument measuring atmospheric pressureDictionary B

Sometimes a barometer is just a barometer.

In other words, it is some sort of instrument that measures the pressure in the atmosphere, to let us know when it’s going to rain or whether we have at least the possibility for some sunshine (even though I am both perplexed and perturbed when the forecast reads, “partly cloudy.” Dammit, make up your mind.)

But in the passing of time, the word “barometer” has been abducted and held for ransom by writers as a term to punctuate any change that happens in society.

In other words, “the barometer of consideration on the Internet lets us know…”

Or the pollsters took some numbers, and “the barometer of the reaction was…”

So tempted as I may be to waddle down that chicken trail of pop culture jargon to make some point about humanity and our times, I will refrain, and allow the barometer to have its space and distinction.

But if I were to add any insight on the issue, I would tell you that the atmospheric pressure of our times is a pair of contentions: humanity is either all animal or is intended to be angelic.

No one seems to want to let people be human–a little classier than Monkeyville, and on the other side of the tracks from Gabriel and the angels.

 

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Archangel

dictionary with letter A

Archangel: (n) an angel of high rank

Gabriel drew the short straw.

God had decided that announcing the birth of the Messiah would have to be prompted by a visitation from an archangel.

Gabriel lost.

It isn’t that the archangels were especially angry about saving mankind–it’s just that trying to tell a fourteen-year-old virgin that she’s pregnant is not exactly the most pleasant task.

Angels are always a little perplexed with humanity anyway. Matter of fact, the only thing an angel and a Homo sapien share in common is free will. And any respectable angel will be quick to tell you that they use their free will much more righteously than earth-bound bipeds.

Gabriel mused. How do you tell a young girl that her life is about to be interrupted in the most inconvenient ways, only to be further dismantled by adventure and mayhem?

It fell Gabriel’s lot.

He spent a few moments alone to make sure he had rid himself of all preconceived ideas and prejudice. He realized that a certain amount of compassion would be necessary to talk to Mary of Nazareth about welcoming a baby which would not be easily explained tor either her betrothed or to her parents, sitting around the dinner table.

In contemplating it, the archangel gained more and more heart and sympathy for the human race:

  • They were certainly more tempted than angels, who spent time surrounded by goodness and mercy.
  • Humans also possessed an emotional explosion not fully comprehended in the heart of the standard celestial inhabitant.
  • And on top of that, Mary was a young girl with dreams which would have to be melted into a divine mission of being the mother of God.

Yes, Gabriel drew the short straw.

The rest of the angels flew away, giggling in delight. But instead of viewing it as a burden, Gabriel took it on as a challenge, which turned into an opportunity.

“Behold, Mary, you are blessed.”

That’s a pretty nice thing to say.

Even though the rest of the message was much more daunting, he felt good about blessing the little lady.

Archangels are the bridge between God and human beings.

Michael, one of the other members of the team, once noted, “We angels have just enough of God to know what we should do, and enough human to sometimes be miserable doing it.”

Maybe that’s true.

But without the archangels, our world would slide into a pit of mediocrity, and nothing of excellence would be achieved.

Time passed (though angels have no watches).

Gabriel sat for a moment, remembering what it was like to speak to Mary. There were many jobs that followed.

He recalled that one of his favorites was whispering into the ear of an artist who was staring at the ceiling, wondering what to do … prompting him to paint God.

 

 

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Annunciation, The

dictionary with letter A

Annuciation, The: (n) announcement of the Incarnation by the angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

Angels have personalities.

I suppose one has to believe in angels or accept the concept of personality.

We know they have some sort of thinking process– one-third of them decided to rebel against management and ended up earth-bound. (Sometimes I think we fail to realize that losing a third of your personnel is a pretty heavy indictment against the employer.)

So I wonder what Gabriel, an angel in good standing, felt like when he was instructed to go to Earth and tell a young, teenage girl that the Holy Spirit was going to overshadow her and that she would bear a child, and even though the offspring would be the Savior of the world, for the first nine months, it would be a much-unwanted pregnancy.

I’m not so sure that a young, Jewish girl in that time would have been aware of the procreative process. So did Gabriel get stuck explaining sex and God–in the same visit?

Or were young girls of the time so confined within tiny, stone huts that actually, Mama and Papa’s evening groanings needed to be explained earlier than usual?

But I will tell you three positive things:

  1. Only a teenage girl would think it was cool to have a baby. If God had caught her any older, she would have been more rational.
  2. Only a young lass would have the faith of a child and the optimism to think that God really saw her personally and wanted to bless her uniquely.
  3. And only Mary stands out singularly as the woman that God chose, to birth the promise of the ages.

What a difficult assignment it was for an angel to annnunciate the heart of God into the fragile mind of a superstitious, adolescent and poverty-stricken little girl.

It is so much the story of humanity–with all of our technology, intellect, pursuit of knowledge, political maneuvers and theological profundities, it is still one single person believing in the unbelievable … marching us forward.

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