Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Tallest Angel, Part 2

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Listen as this teacher thinks about the promise she made to one of her students as she passed out parts in the school Christmas program.

What have I done? thought Miss Ellis soberly. I've promised a little crooked girl that she will be a tall straight angel. I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to do it..

Dear God, please help me! Show me the way! For the first time since I've known her, I've seen Dorie happy. Please help her to be happy in Your love, dear God. Show me the way to help her

Leslie Basham: It's Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Have you ever felt like God doesn't really love you?

Yesterday we heard about a little girl who thought there was no way God could love her. Today we'll find out what happened as we hear part two of the story, "The Tallest Angel." If you have daughters at home, why don't you all listen together? Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I have some very special friends here in the studio with me today--about a dozen young women. It's so fun to be with you,girls, and to be reading Christmas stories together this week. Yesterday we started a story called "The Tallest Angel." It's about a girl called Dorie. This little girl didn't feel that God really loved her. What made her feel that way, Catherine?

Catherine: Well, she was a hunchback and she had leg braces.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So she wasn't like the other girls and she couldn't move around as quickly as they could. That made her feel like she was an outcast, didn't it? And who was the teacher who was trying to help Dorie understand that God really did love her?

Elisabeth: Miss Ellis.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's right, Elisabeth. Her name was Miss Ellis. And she had been praying that God would help her help Dorie understand how much God loved her.

So today we're going to pick up with the second part of that story. The children are in the classroom getting ready for Christmas.

"The children started asking Miss Ellis about the Christmas program. 'Please, Miss Ellis, can I be Mary in the Christmas program?' one of the children said.

"'Miss Ellis, I'd like to be Joseph.'

"'I should be Mary because I can't sing in the angel choir.'

"Miss Ellis raised her hand for quiet. After a moment she began, 'I've already chosen the ones who will play the parts of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the angel choir.' "'Tell us the names! Tell us the names now!' the children chorused. "'All right,' agreed Miss Ellis as she reached for a paper from her desk.

"'Sue Ellen will be Mary. Daniel will be Joseph. John, Alan and Morris will be the shepherds. All the rest of you will be choir angels. Miss Ellis scanned the eager, hopeful faces around her till she saw the face of Dorie.

"There was no eager hope in her small pinched face. Dorie felt from bitter experience that no one wanted a hunchback in a program. Miss Ellis could not bear the numb resignation on that small white face.

"Almost without realizing what she was saying, she finished the sentence, 'All will be choir angels, except Dorie.' There was a moment of hushed surprise. 'Dorie will be the special angel who talks to the shepherds.'

All the children gasped and turned to look at Dorie. Dorie? A special angel? They had never thought of that. As realization penetrated Dorie's amazement, a slow smile relaxed the pinched features. A little candle flame of happiness shone in the brown eyes.

"'Her eyes are lovely when she is happy,' marveled Miss Ellis. 'O Lord, help her to be happy more often.' The hall bell sounded the end of another school day. Soon all the children had bidden Miss Ellis good-bye as they hurried from the room. All but Dorie. She stood very still, as if clinging to a magic moment for as long as possible. The lights had flickered out of her eyes. Her face seemed whiter than ever before.

"Miss Ellis knelt and took Dorie's cold little hands in her own. 'What is it, Dorie? Don't you want to be a special angel after all?'

"'I do,' Dorie's voice broke. 'But I'll be a horrid, hunchbacked angel. Everyone will stare at me and laugh because angels are straight and beau--' Dorie's small body shook with uncontrollable sobs.

"'Listen to me, Dorie,' Miss Ellis began slowly. 'You are going to be my special angel. Somehow I'm going to make you look straight and beautiful like real angels. Will you just be happy, Dorie, and let me plan it all out? Then I'll tell you all about it.'

"Dorie lifted her head hopefully. 'Do you think you can, Miss Ellis? Do you think you can?'

"'I know I can, Dorie. Smile now. You're so pretty when you smile. And say over and over, "God loves me. God loves me." That will make you want to smile. Will you try it, Dorie?'

"A shadow of disbelief crossed Dorie's face. Then she brightened with resolution. 'I'll say it, Miss Ellis. And if you can make me look like a straight angel, I'll try to believe it.'

"'That's the spirit, Dorie. Good-bye now, and have nice dreams tonight.' Dorie went to the door, paused a moment, then turned again to Miss Ellis. 'Yes, Dorie? Is there something else?'

"Dorie hesitated for a long moment. Then she said slowly, 'Do you think I could look like a tall angel, too? I'm smaller than anyone else because my back is so bent. Do you think I could look like a tall angel?'

"'I'm sure we can make you look tall,' promised Miss Ellis. Dorie sighed with satisfaction and let the door swing shut behind her. The silver bells on the Christmas wreath jingled merrily, almost mockingly.

"What have I done? thought Miss Ellis soberly. I've promised a little crooked girl that she will be a tall straight angel. I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to do it. Dear God, please help me. Show me the way. For the first time since I've known her, I've seen Dorie happy. Please help her to be happy in Your love, dear God. Show me the way to help her.

"Miss Ellis went to sleep that night with a prayer still in her heart. Morning came, crisp and clear. Lacy frills of frost hung daintily from every branch and bush. Miss Ellis rubbed her eyes and looked out of her window. The sparkling white beauty of the morning reminded her of angels.

"Angels! She recalled her promise. She had dreamed of angels, too. What was the dream about? What was it? Miss Ellis tapped her finger against her lip in concentration.

"Suddenly, as if a dark door had opened to the sunshine, the dream the--whole angel plan--swept into her mind. Idea after idea tumbled about like dancing sunbeams. She must hurry and dress. She must get to the schoolhouse early to talk to Joe the janitor. Joe could do anything, and she was sure that Joe would help her.

"At the door of the school, she scarcely paused to stomp the snow from her boots. Quickly, she went down to the furnace room where Joe was stoking coals into the hungry furnace. 'Joe,' she began. 'I need your help. I've got a big job ahead of me. I'm going to make little Dorie Saunders into a tall straight angel for our Christmas pageant.'

"Joe thumped his shovel down, looked at her intently and scratched his head. 'You certainly did pick yourself a job, Miss Ellis. How are you going to do all this and where do I figure?'

"'It's like this, Joe.' She outlined her plan to him, and Joe agreed to it. Miss Ellis went lightly up the steps to her fourth-grade room.

"She greeted the children cheerily, smiling warmly at Dorie. Dorie returned the smile with the candle flames of happiness glowing again in her eyes. For Dorie, the day was enchanted.

Round-faced angels smiled at her through the O's in her arithmetic book. The time passed dreamily on whirring angel wings. At last school was over and she was alone with Miss Ellis, waiting to hear the marvelous plan that would make her a straight and beautiful angel.

"'I've thought it all out, Dorie.' Miss Ellis pulled Dorie close as she explained the plan. 'Mrs. Brown and I are going to make you a long white gown and wings. Joe will fix you up so you will be the tallest angel of all. Dorie, let's keep it a secret until the night of the program, shall we?'

"Dorie nodded vigorously. She couldn't speak. The vision was too lovely for words so she just nodded and hugged Miss Ellis as tight as her thin arms could squeeze. Then she limped from the room.

"Dorie had never felt such happiness. Now she really had a place in the scheme of events. At least until Christmas, she felt she really belonged with the other children. She was really like other children. Maybe God loved even her.

"At last the night of the program came. Carols of praise to the newborn King rang through the school. Now it was time for the Christmas pageant. Soft music invited a quiet mood, and the audience waited for the curtains to open upon a shepherd scene. The sky was dark as the shepherds sat huddled around their fire. Then suddenly a bright light burst over the scene.

"The audience gasped in surprise. High up on a pedestal, dressed in a gown of shimmering white satin, Dorie raised her arms in salutation. 'Fear not!' Her face was radiant as she spoke. 'For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!'

"Her voice gathered conviction as she continued. 'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!' The triumphant ring in her voice carried to the choir, and the children sang, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,' as they had never sung before.

"Dorie's father blinked hard at the tears that stung his eyes. He thought in his heart, Why, she is a beautiful child! Dorie's mother closed her eyes on the lovely vision, praying silently, Forgive me, God. I haven't appreciated the good things about Dorie because I've been so busy complaining about her misfortunes.

"The sound of the carols sung by the choir died away and the curtains silently closed. Miss Ellis hurried backstage and lifted Dorie from her high pedestal. 'Dorie,' she asked softly. 'What happened? How did you feel when you were the angel? Something wonderful happened to you. I saw it in your face.'

"Dorie hesitated. 'You'll laugh.'

"'Never, never, Dorie. I promise.'

"'Well, while I was saying the angel message, I began to feel taller and taller and real straight.'

She paused and looked intently at Miss Ellis.

"'Go on, dear,' urged Miss Ellis gently. 'What else?'

"'Well, I didn't feel my braces anymore. And do you know what?'

"'No. What? Tell me.'

"'Right then I knew it was true. God does love me.'

"'Dorie, as long as you know that is true, you'll never be really unhappy again. Someday, my dear, you will stand straight and tall and beautiful among the real angels in heaven.'"

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss reading from the Christmas story, "The Tallest Angel." Nancy isn't done. She'll be right back to talk about what we can learn from this story and to pray with us.

We'd like to know what you think about our special week of Christmas stories. Why don't you write and tell us about it?  Or contact us via e-mail. Go to our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com and click on "Share and Interact."

If you visit our Web site, you can get information about a booklet called A Girl of Beauty by Carol Fiddler. We've designed this week of stories so that moms and daughters can listen together. This booklet will provide additional chances for you to interact with the young ladies in your life. They need to know God's truth about who they are, just like Dorie in the story we heard today. This book will help you pass on His truth to them with chapters on service to others, purpose in life and dealing with disappointment.

When you visit ReviveOurHearts.com, click on "Today's Resources" and look for A Girl of Beauty by Carol Fiddler. You can also get a copy of this week's special Christmas stories on cassette or CD. Tomorrow we'll hear Nancy telling us the greatest Christmas story ever written. Now here she is to reflect on today's story, "The Tallest Angel."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, let me ask you a question. What difference did it make in Dorie's life when she came to understand that God really did love her? What difference can it make in anyone's life? Let's ask the Lord to show us this week ways that we can show others that He really does love them.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You love us so much--even if we're very different from other people or even if we have problems that we can't solve. I pray that this Christmas week You would help us to show others Your love and that through our love others may come to know how much You love them. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Leslie Basham: "The Tallest Angel" was read with the permission of Joe Wheeler, editor and compiler of Christmas in My Heart, II.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*"The Tallest Angel," (from "Christmas in My Heart," 1993, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD.)

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.