Thal was a small angel with big responsibilities. He was in charge of the moon, keeping her face clean and her teeth brushed.He had short dark curly hair with dark eyes to match. Like all the angels he wore a cream coloured tunic and had sandals on his feet. He had a long robe of the same colour for ceremonial occasions. The feathers on his wings were iridescent. When he worked he wore a long apron tied round his waist.
This evening when he came on duty he opened the large cupboard where all the cleaning materials were stored. His name was printed on the shelf where he kept his soft cloths, his brush and his bucket. He selected what he needed and, on his way out, he picked up a small ladder.
He travelled out to the moon on a cloud. Clouds were useful, angels used them to move around the heavens like a sort of free taxi service. There were always plenty of them and you never had to wait. The moon had just risen and was waiting for him. Thal manoeuvred the cloud in front of the moon and anchored his ladder on it. He then rested the ladder against the moon and selecting a soft cloth, he climbed to the top of the moon's face.
"Good evening moon" he said, "how are you?"He then gave moon a kiss on her big, round face.
"I'm fine" replied the moon "and pleased to see you, Thal. I have something to ask you. For the last few evenings I have seen many comings and goings in heaven and quite a few on earth. What is happening, do you know?"
"I'venoticed a lot of activity in heaven over the last few days too, more angelic choir practice than usual and the choir angels are rehearsing songs I've never heard before. We have also been told to hand in our ceremonial robes for washing. I put mine in the laundry room this morning. I'll try to find out and I'll let you know when I come up tomorrow," replied Thal.
He carefully cleaned the moon's face. When it was a full moon it took a long time, a lot less when it was a new moon but, no matter what phase she was in, he always did his job thoroughly. The earth loved her soft light at night. If her face was dirty her light was diminished and that would never do. Moon depended on him to keep her spotless and he had never let her down.
When he had finished he kissed her goodbye, collected has cleaning materials and his ladder and the cloud took him back to heaven. There he sought out his best friend Azar.
"What's happening Azar?" he asked, "do you know?"
Azar was the senior of the star angels and he looked after the Pole Star. "Strange" said Azar biting into a doughnut. "We've been told to do a spring clean of every star in the firmament. I've been informed that the Pole Star will have a special mission". Azar finished his doughnut and licked the last of the jam from his fingers "Must go" he said, "I'll catch you later."
Thal was determined to find out what was happening. He waited respectfully near a group of archangels who were deep in conversation, until one of them was free.
"Hello Gabriel" said Thal "can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Of course Thal. Let's find a bench to sit on" replied the archangel.
"Gabriel, what is happening? Moon says she's seen all sorts of goings on on earth as well as here over the last few days. She wants to know what is going on".
Gabriel smiled at the small angel sitting beside him. "An announcement will be made to everyone this evening but I'll tell you now so that you can tell moon. A very special baby will be born on earth tomorrow night. We are having a huge celebration for this event. A great choir of angels will announce his birth to a group of shepherds who will be minding their sheep on a hillside. These shepherds will then spread the news around there and will go and see the baby. This baby is special because he usually lives here but when he grows up he has a special job to do on earth so he will be on loan there for a while. Everything must be perfect for his arrival hence all the rehearsals. When you go up to see moon please give her an extra special polish as we will be relying on her light. The star angels will do the same for their stars. Stay with moon tomorrow and you can watch this extraordinary event together."
Thal was so excited he went up to see moon early that evening. Fortunately she was awake. He told her the great news and they made their plans for the morrow. The following day passed in a ferment of last minute preparations in heaven.
When the evening came Thal took a large, fluffy white cloud up to the moon. She was given an extra polish. Thal could see Azar and the star angels hard at work too. When he had finished he sat at the top of his ladder and leant against moon. The spectacular event was about to start. As Gabriel had told him, a huge choir of angels filled the sky.
Moon said softly to Thal "Look, he's arrived." She dimmed her light a little so as not to wake the newborn baby, sleeping in a manger in a stable.
Azar's star grew brighter and brighter. He called over to Thal, "Got to go. Three people about to start out on a journey are waiting for my star's light. I've got to guide them safely, as they've got a long way to go. See you!"
"Take care Azar, see you soon" Thal called back.
When daylight came, Thal kissed moon and rode the cloud back to heaven. There he found Gabriel waiting for him. Gabriel put his hand on Thal's shoulder and said "Thank you. Moon looked wonderful. It was an unforgettable night for everyone. We have just witnessed the very first Christmas."
Copyright Jacqueline Hastings 2009