By Cristen Craven Barnard, First Senatobia UMC
Photo right: This ornament made from an aluminum can reminds one woman of God's ability to create new life.
The United Methodist Women circles in my church made little angel ornaments out of pop cans for a fundraising project. The UMW is asking for a small suggested donation for each angel.
The process from can to angel is tedious. A can's top and bottom are removed, the center ring that is left is cut, and the strip of aluminum is washed and dried and laid flat. A pattern is then traced in the aluminum. The angel's body and wings are cut, formed and a bead head with halo is added. The process doesn't stop there; a small heart is cut from a can's remnants and then added to make a shiny halo. Finally, a thin hanging hook is attached. The result is a special ornament from a discarded pop can that hangs just right on a Christmas tree.
When it came time to take orders for the angels a comment was made that some might think the suggested donation was a little high, after all, they were made from trash. God gives us messages sometimes in simple little things. There is a message for me in this little pop can angel story, and I hope for you too!
This pretty little pop can angel had another life, a can covered in a name identifying its contents. Then, when emptied it was discarded as trash. Someone saw that cannot as trash, not even as just a can, but saw that can as what it could be. From the trash, it was lifted and a new life began. This little can had a lot of trimming to be done. It needed to be scrubbed clean, and then shaped into something totally new. The hands that picked it up, the hands that washed it, trimmed it, and shaped it, gave this newly formed creation a head and a heart as it had never had before and even a halo and a way to hang was provided.
A little angel, ready to be used in its new life, but what happened? Someone came along and said, "Well after all, it was from trash, so it really didn't have much value." Now, if that angel had come from a fresh new piece of rolled out aluminum no one could say that. But, then again what makes this little pop can angel so special is that we can see that it was once something else. It is colorful, and its story is written all over it, so that folks can see from where it came. It's no longer holding the old, but it is a testimony of new life through the hands, of the one, who rescued it for something special.
I am like that little pop can angel. I held stuff and that stuff was my identity. There was a time of emptiness, and a time of feeling lost and even discarded. The can couldn't call out, but I could and I called out to Jesus. Jesus picked me up, Jesus washed me clean, Jesus trimmed me up, Jesus gave me a new shape and Jesus gave me a new way of thinking. This special angel has a heart over its head, but Jesus gave me a new heart that is filled with him. My story he uses; it's there to be shared. There will be some who never see the value, never see past the trash beneath their feet. However, God sees us differently. He sees what can be. He values us! So much that He gave His Son so we can be a new creation in Chris and that we may have a relationship forever with him.
I am a pop can angel placed where he wants me, and formed as he wants me. Celebrating the greatest gift of all, God's gift sent for us. God's gift poured out freely upon a cross for us. God's gift ascended for our forever tomorrows with him! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS.