Think of the words in Christmas carols: "glory shone around," calm, bright, peace, light, shine. Whether we focus on angels as guardians, heavenly messengers and intermediaries, or simply as inspiring symbols of qualities we aspire to, we are most likely to see them at Christmas time.

Angels are a symbol of light, radiating light in their halos and general glowiness. And Christmas, of course, is a celebration of light in its pagan roots, arriving in the very darkest, shortest days of the year to give everyone hope that light, the sun, and renewed life will return... light in darkness. Maybe that's another reason why we associate angels with Christmas, as the quintessential symbol of light and hope.

It's no surprise that the Frank Capra Christmas film classic, "It's A Wonderful Life," (incidentally one of my all-time favourite films) features an angel, actually an angel in training called Clarence. Clarence is sent to earth to rescue George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, who initially responds sceptically: "Well, you look about the kind of angel I'd get. Sort of a fallen angel, aren't you? What happened to your wings?" Despite his initial doubt, "Well come on Gabriel," as George initially addresses Clarence, the angel in training succeeds with his mission and gets his wings, reminding the initially suicidal George that it is indeed a wonderful life.

I have to tell you that I have believed in angels (yes, actually believed!) for as long as I can remember. They have always felt real to me and angelology (the study of angels) is one of my favourite reading topics. My son, when he was very little, told me once quite matter-of-factly that he had three angels who looked after him, who were called Gracious, Hallelujah, and Clair. Talk about unforgettable! And there have been a couple of experiences in my life when I felt, maybe even saw, the presence of angels... but that's another story.

Whatever your own beliefs, I believe that angels are an incredibly powerful and beautiful symbol of human light and potential for good. In "It's A Wonderful Life," we see an angel who looks like a human being, and mythology is full of angels appearing to us cleverly disguised as humans.

If someone is particularly wonderful to us, we might call them an angel. Like Clarence appearing as George is just about to throw himself off a bridge, we can transform everything for someone else with one action or with our intervention or words. Why not be open to the possibility of seeing angels in others, being peaceful and still enough in yourself that you are able to perceive and respond?

Even more radically, I invite you to consider the angel inside yourself, the you you have the potential to liberate when you are at your absolute best. Michelangelo (think of his name!) wrote this about sculpting David: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." In a sense, we are all in the dark at times and need to turn on our own light, connect and reconnect to the angel who resides in us.

My coaching line is "Shine! Illuminate Your Life." I am inspired every day by what and who we are each capable of being to ourselves and to each other. It's about faith, fundamentally, that even when we may feel in the darkness, the light is there, that even when we may not live up to our own high expectations of ourselves, we have the potential to be wonderful and to live a wonderful life (light). Saint Augustine wrote that "Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe."

There's an old saying...."angels fly because they take themselves lightly." I never really understood it before but it clicked today....angels fly because they take themselves light-ly, by the way of light.

Although angels draw especially close to us at Christmas, ultimately, we are all, like Clarence, angels-in-training, and angels are there as beautiful symbols to remind us of our potential for wonder, there for life (and light) and not just at Christmas.

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Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nicola Bunting is a top international personal and professional coach, with the Master Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), one of only 1% of coaches in the world to reach this level of certification. Working with successful professionals in Europe and the USA, either as a personal or executive coach, Dr. Bunting specialises in helping ambitious individuals dramatically accelerate their success and fulfillment. With individual, group, and corporate coaching programmes on offer, Dr. Bunting's coaching company, La Vita Nuova (the New Life!), can design a coaching plan to help you achieve beyond your expectations.