The word "angel" is derived from the Greek word aggelos, meaning "messenger". Angels are mentioned over 100 times in each of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
They are spiritual beings, and as such do not have physical bodies like humans do. In some accounts of angelic encounters, they do appear in a human form, both with and without wings.
Angels have a number of tasks they are sent to perform:
Angels as Messengers
Angels bring messages and instructions to humans from God. Christians are familiar with the story of the Annunciation: Mary was visited by an angel and told that she would conceive and give birth to a son. The angel also told her that the child would be called Jesus.
An angel also appeared to St. Joseph and urged him to go ahead with his plans to make Mary his wife. A third example of angels as messengers is the story relating how on the morning of Jesus' resurrection, an angel was at the tomb. He told the women who had gathered there that Jesus was gone and that he was among the living.
In recent years, interest in angels has increased. Many people display angelic images in pictures or in figurines of various sizes and types. Some even choose to wear earrings, pins, or pendants in the shape of these celestial beings.
Angels as Protectors
Angels have been known to protect humans from imminent danger. Those familiar with the Bible will remember the powerful story of how Daniel was kept safe all night after having been thrown into the lions' den.
Other accounts describing angels in this role tell of people feeling like they were pushed out of the way of a vehicle speeding toward them, deciding at the last minute not to board a plane that subsequently crashes, or surviving a fall from a great height with no serious injuries.
Angels as Deliverers
Another task performed by angels is to keep people safe from danger once they are in it. We have all heard stories of people who have "miraculously" survived bouts with serious illness, severe injuries, or the effects of natural disasters. When these events take place, we think to ourselves, "That person must have had a Guardian Angel looking out for him or her". No other explanation seems to make sense.
A famous story from the First World War tells of the outnumbered British Expeditionary Force being saved from certain death at the hands of German forces by an army of angels that appeared in the sky. When ordered to charge a break in the British line, a number of German soldiers refused to do so because of the large group of soldiers they observed.(According to British military records, there were no soldiers in the area at the time.) The story of the "Angels of Mons" is a fascinating one.
Strength and Encouragement
People look to angels to give them strength during difficult times. It is immensely comforting to believe that even though all people reside within themselves, it doesn't mean that they have to walk alone. These beings exist to offer help and encouragement when we feel that we have lost our way.
The next time that you see the image of an angel, take a moment to consider all that they mean to you. You may even choose to wear angel jewelry to demonstrate your regard for and trust in these heavenly messengers.