Friday, November 11, 2016

Hallelujah Angel Orchestra: The Story of Comfort and Joy

“We just got orders from the higher-ups that we’re performing a concert over Bethlehem tomorrow,” Comfort said to Joy. 

“How are we going to do that in time? It seems so last minute,” Joy said, fixing her angel wings and grabbing her trumpet.

“It’s not really last minute,” Comfort said, looking over his sheet music for “Glory to God in the Highest.” 

“We can sing a duet,” Joy said. “And we’ll lead the angel orchestra, just like we usually do . . .”

The two angels adorned themselves in pink and sky-blue robes, playing sparkling silver trumpets for heaven’s events. 

“What’s the occasion?” Joy said. “Gloria said God decided to send his Son to live on Earth, and this is his entrance.”

“His entrance?”  Gloria, the Hallelujah Angel Orchestra’s supervisor, said. “No, I said this is one of the most important evenings in history. I wasn’t able to tell the orchestra before now. You would’ve been too excited. The date was a secret!”

“Well, now that it’s not a secret, we better hold rehearsals all night long,” Comfort said, warming a mug of angel coffee.

“Any angel who sings off key can’t participate in this event,” Gloria said. “Only the best singers and instruments!”

“Yes, Gloria, the orchestra must be well-prepared,” Comfort said. “I’m sounding the bell for rehearsal now!”

The large, golden rehearsal bell rang all throughout the Hallelujah Angel Orchestra chamber, calling the angels to practice.

As the angels entered the hall, they whispered to one another, curious as to why they were called to practice in the middle of the night. Usually, they were given at least a few days’ notice for major events throughout the heavens. 

“Now every angel, listen up!” Gloria said, marching across the chamber with a clip board. “All your other duties are put on hold until we finish this concert. There will be shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Comfort and Joy will appear to them, and the glory of the Lord will shine around them, and they will be terrified. We’re going to have to do our best to help them not to be afraid. Every one of your angel wings needs to be ironed and trumpets need to be polished! After the glory shines, I gave Comfort and Joy a script to read. Go ahead Comfort . . .”

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people,” Comfort said, trying to memorize it.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Joy said, flipping to page two.

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger,” Comfort said, pausing. 

“Gloria, do you think we need that third section about the sign? It might be overdoing it a bit,” he said. 

“Would you stick to the script?” Gloria said. “God wrote it. I can’t change it. It is essential to the Messiah’s identity. After the script is finished, then suddenly our great company of heavenly host will appear with you and Joy, praising God and singing! Comfort and Joy, do you have down all the major instructions? If you do, then we can continue to the music.”

“Altos, sopranos, tenors, and basses! Every angel, focus!” Comfort directed the Hallelujah Angel Orchestra. 

“The musicians can join in during the second verse. The first time should be a cappella,” Joy instructed, handing out the music. 

After the angel orchestra had a minute to review the song, they stood at their tallest with instruments ready, mostly harps. 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests,” the angel orchestra sang. 

“Wonderful!” Gloria announced. “Still needs a little work on phrasing and make sure to pronounce your consonants. After you are finished performing the song, ideally, the shepherds will hurry off and find Mary and Joseph, the baby’s parents, and the baby, who will be lying in the manger. When the shepherds see the baby, they should spread the word concerning what had been told to them about the child by us. Of course, all who hear what the shepherds say to them will be amazed. I’m hoping the child’s mother will treasure all these things and ponder them in her heart. The shepherds then must return to the fields, glorifying and praising God for what they have heard and seen. If they don’t, at least we tried. We did it for God.”

“Any questions?” Comfort said to the crowd of singers and musicians. “I will try to answer them for you!”

“Without answers, then there’s always the chance for a miracle,” Joy said, giggling into her trumpet.

As the Hallelujah Angel Orchestra practiced into the wee hours of the morning and into the next afternoon, “Glory to God in the Highest” sounded heavenly. By the midnight hour on Christmas Eve, the angels were in place over Bethlehem. 

“Everyone, remember your cues,” Comfort said, with Gloria watching on the side of the orchestra, floating in the sky. 

“Look! Shepherds! There really are shepherds in the field,” the alto section of the choir whispered to the tenors. 

“Ssh! We’re not supposed to be talking! Peace! Be still and know,” the sopranos said with the basses biting their lips.

When Comfort and Joy appeared in the sky with the glory of God, the shepherds stopped in place, shaking in fear. 

“Aaah! What’s in the sky? Attackers! They’re going to kill us!” the shepherds said, running for the hills. 

“No! They’re not supposed to be running for the hills! The script! Start now! Hurry!” Gloria yelled at Comfort and Joy.

At that, the sheep scattered, and the shepherds had dropped many of their crooks in the chaos of the event. 

By the time Comfort and Joy finished the script, some of the shepherds had stood still long enough to listen to the song. 

Then, the shepherds ran off as fast as they could, taking a few sheep with them, but losing the rest in the terror. 

“A complete failure,” Gloria said, sitting on a cloud in tears. “How could the shepherds be so afraid? The glory of God shone. We prepared the script. We practiced the song. What is wrong with them? We sacrificed so much for this! The shepherds have a distinct role to play in the baby’s birth. They are going to have to find him to tell others, or all is lost!”

Comfort and Joy flew across the sky to give Gloria a hug, and the rest of the angels stood in silence with disappointment. 

“Maybe next year will go better?” Comfort said. “Maybe the shepherds will have time to think about the script by then?”

“Tonight was a disaster!” Gloria said. “Why would God ever pick shepherds to help his son at a time like this?”

“We are angels,” Joy said. “The shepherds might have been a little bit excited and listened to what we were saying!”

“Let’s just pack it up and go back to heaven,” Gloria said. “There’s not much else that we can do for now down here!”

“You go ahead. Joy and I will fly to the manger to see if the shepherds made it,” Comfort said, nudging Joy.

“Of course, we’ll fly to the manger,” Joy said, trying to be hopeful after the shepherds’ unbelievable exit.  

By the time Comfort and Joy found Mary and Joseph in the manger with the baby, the shepherds had just arrived. 

“I can barely believe my eyes!” Comfort said, admiring the gifts of three very wealthy men that sat next to the shepherds.

“This is why you need to have faith!” Joy said. “Even when you think everything is a failure, somehow it works out.” 

“How do you think it worked out?” Comfort said. “They ran away so fast, like we were going to kill them.”

“The shepherds must’ve talked about it and decided to go see what we told them about,” Joy said, laughing out loud. 

Then, out of nowhere, Gloria landed in the middle of the manger, pulling the shepherds by the ears. 

“He who has ears to hear! Let him hear! Do not be afraid! Did you hear me?” Gloria said, yelling at the shepherds.

“Oh, no!” Comfort said, flying in her direction. “The world needs Comfort and Joy! It’s the only way it won’t be afraid.”

Every year from that year on, Gloria took her annual vacation at Christmas, and Comfort and Joy were put in charge to spread the Christmas spirit. 

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters 

No comments:

Post a Comment