What a treasure… In early 1962 my mom wrote this sweet story. I’ve had it along with the rest of her writings, but this one was different. In the file with the story (typed on a manual typewriter with NO errors!) I found letters to and from a Dodd, Mead & Company in New York, a publisher. It wasn’t accepted, but I’m go glad she kept those letters because in the one to the right I discovered how the story came about, and who the artist was that provided the wonderful artwork…a ‘Miss Irene Bailey.’ I’m not sure, but believe this was a re-write of the one detailed for that “community gathering” for some dear friends Earl & Darliene Johnson at the birth of their son. I have both versions and since this is the one submitted, I went with it.
In this age of self publication, I’m privileged to do what couldn’t be done in her time, publish this for her in my little blog world. It’s written in the context and language of her era; fanciful, simple and sweet.
With that said…please enjoy my mom’s gift, once again.
THE MOST ADORED CHERUB
By Mary Ann Coppinger
The Celestial Gardens rippled with excitement and flurry. Tiny cherubim’s and seraphim’s fluttered about polishing the leaves, shaping the petals, arranging the colorful array of buds and blossoms, blending the fragrance of the flowers to make their garden vivid and lovely. These little angelic beings were the tiniest in all of the heavens and were lovingly called, “our little cherubs.”
Since the little cherubs were so adored by all the hosts of angels, they were chosen to be keepers of the celestial gardens. They could then dwell midst the beauty and lure of the pretty flowers and bubbling brooks. With baby tenderness they cared for the vast supply of green plants, shrubs and multi-colored flowers which kept the heavens decorated in splendor. When the older angels were not busy with their assigned duties, they would fly to the garden wall, fold their wings and watch the ambitious little cherubs perform their work with gentleness and grace. The garden was the most cherished place in all the heavens, outside the very throne of God; full of charm, serenity and innocence. Should it not be so? It was God’s holy nursery and the sweet baby cherubs sought to glorify the Heavenly Father in their own baby fashion.
Today an unusual amount of flutter and excitement was evident in the garden. News had come that they were to have a very special visitor. Early in the dawn, Flowerlette, the third tiniest cherub had gathered some of the choice flowers, as he did every morning, and had taken them to beautify the altars of God. While there, he overheard the archangel Michael being instructed to visit the celestial garden to take a special commission to one of the cherubs. Flowerlette was so excited that the archangel Michael was sent to their garden that he forgot to listen further. Instead, he flew back to the garden as fast as his little wings could flap. In through the gate he flew, past the roses and lilies, through the trees and over the brooks. He must find the tiniest cherub!
“Blow your horn, you tiny tiny cherub, and sound the alarm,” he panted. “We must call all the cherubs together ‘round the gate. I have great news to tell!”
Now this tiny tiny cherub was the tiniest of all the cherubs in the garden. He was so small that he could not have a special job like the other cherubs, such as painting all the colors on the delicate petals or polishing; the leaves or gathering bouquets. He found something he could do, though, and soon he became the most favored of all the cherubims and seraphims, for he made the garden beautiful with his music. He could string the harp or play on the horns in such a heavenly manner the angel chorus gave him the name of Melody. Melody’s sweet music blended with the fragrance and luster of the garden so well that sometimes the other cherubs thought it must be the very trees and flowers actually singing the sweet songs. He made the forest sing and the streams hum their overtures in bubbling delight.
Acting on Flowerlette’s instructions, Melody quickly flew to the highest treetop where he blew his little trumpet loud and clear. Very soon all the cherubs were assembled around the garden gate where Flowerlette stood importantly waiting to tell them the news. What chatter and curiosity arose when the cherubs learned that Michael would visit them today. Such busy and important archangels rarely came to their garden unless he had an important matter of business and they were especially sent with a commission for one of the little cherubs. Oh, the curiosity that was felt in each of the tiny beings! Finally, Goldenrod, the keeper of the gate and the second tiniest cherub, flapped his wings loudly to bring order.
“Be gone you cherubs, back to your duties, for our garden must look its best today.”
Flowerlette flew off by himself to his own special rock near the brook to rest his tired wings after his morning venture. “Surely the commission is for me,” he thought, “I have been so faithful and have taken only the choicest flowers to the altars.”
Goldenrod, too, had his heart set with his own ideas. He mumbled to himself as he worked busily. “I know it will be for me this time. I have kept the garden gate polished until it shines like the sunlight from the throne!”
But little Melody nestled himself among the roses to hide his wishfulness. “The commission will never be for me,” he signed, “for I am so small I cannot work to show my usefulness. I can only make melodies.” Then he strummed softly on his small harp, but the sweet sad strains were barely heard above the flutter and bustle of the other busy cherubs.
Soon everything was in readiness and quietness settled like a curtain around the anxious cherubs. Melody perched in the lilacs near the garden gate and played gently on his flute. The light happy tones from his instruments helped to calm the anxiety they all felt.
Far down the Jasper Street could finally be seen the stately archangel Michael. But he was not alone! Following him in angelic splendor was the entire angel chorus! Their brightness and beauty surrounded the archangel like a tapestry. Such an impressive sight had never before been seen by the garden cherubs. They could hardly believe their eyes and their tiny wings trembled with anticipation. What could this mean?
“Oh, oh,” gasped Goldenrod, “this must be something very very special! They are all coming here to our garden!” He quickly checked over his beautiful gate once again to make certain there was not even one spot on its golden finish.
Just then, little Flowerlette flew up to the gate breathlessly. He had been gathering a bouquet of his favorite lilies to present to Michael. He was so excited he could not be still for even a minute. He spied the throng of mighty angels coming toward the gate. His heart turned a somersault and nearly stopped! “Goldenrod, Goldenrod, the whole angel chorus! I thought only Michael was coming!” And before Goldenrod could open his mouth, Flowerlette was off again to gather some palm branches to wave in welcome to the chorus.
Melody peeked out between the lilac branches to see what all the commotion was about. He was so frightened he flew through the air with amazing speed. Up and up and up he flew to his highest treetop to hide among the many branches. Never had he been so afraid. Shockingly, he grabbed his cymbals, for the other cherubs were depending on him to sound out a fitting welcome to all their visitors. Because he was shaking, his tiny wings got caught between the cymbals. It hurt so that he could not keep back the tears that spilled over his rosy cheeks. Feebly he rested against the tree trunk, took a deep breath and sounded forth the welcoming melody from his silver trumpet. The music made him feel brave and strong again. When he played, he thought only of the tones of his beloved instrument that could make them all so happy. His melody so enraptured the mighty angel chorus that they stood silently before the garden gate with folded wings admiring the richness of the heavenly tones.
When the song was ended, the archangel Michael raised his hands to speak. “Ah, my sweet cherubs, the fragrance and ‘beauty of your garden is a delight to behold. You have done well in your work. Truly these gardens do magnify the Lord most holy!”
Goldenrod was hoping he would mention the shining; gate, but Flowerlette was already hurrying forth to present his welcoming bouquet of lilies.
“Thank you, my little Flowerlette; you do well to gather these flowers to honor me. I have come today with a message
directly from the throne.” With that Michael turned to the angel chorus. In one accord they began to sing a most wonderful song of praise to the God of all the heavens. There were no words in the cherub language to describe the beautiful harmony of the angels.
When the last “Amen” was echoed through the garden, the archangel raised his hands again to speak. As he did so, a strange and majestic light enfolded him. The tiny cherubs bowed in reverence, for they felt what he was about to say must be very sacred.
“It is the tiniest cherub I wish to see, would you summon for me little Melody!”
At the mention of his name the sweet tiny cherub really shook. He was so surprised that he dropped his silver trumpet and it fell down….down….down, until it landed with a bang right on top of poor Goldenrod, knocking the proud cherub completely off the golden gate. Flowerlette was so dumbfounded at this announcement that he dropped the palms he was waving and clamped his hands tightly over his mouth to muffle back the groan of disappointment that was about to escape.
Melody giggled a wee bit when he saw the surprise on their faces. For a moment he forgot his fright and came out of his hiding place. Down through the trees he came, over the rippling brooks, past the lovely roses, the gardenias and orchids.…but….but….he had never seen such a host of angels before and his tiny wings twitched and trembled. Surely they did not want to see him. He slipped behind his favorite lilac tree hoping he had not been noticed, but Michael’s keen eyes had seen the flutter of Melody’s tiny angelic wings. With a smile of love, the great archangel went quickly to the lilac and gathered the baby cherub in his protecting arms.
“Do not be frightened sweet little cherub. I have sought you out because you are loved very dearly. Your music makes all heaven rejoice and the Heavenly Father knows how faithfully you have made the other cherubs happy with your melodies. You shall receive your reward this day. The commission is for you!”
Melody’s heart pounded faster and faster. “But Michael, does not our Father know that I am too tiny to work. I can be of no use….I can only make melodies.” The wishful tiny cherub bowed his wings in dejection.
The great archangel beamed kindly down upon the disheartened cherub and the strange and glorious light shone about him again. “Do not be unhappy, little one. It is because you can make melodies that you have been chosen to be very special. God is going to make you part of his great creation, dear cherub, so that you can put a melody into human hearts.”
Michael turned once more to the angel chorus. Their harmony filled the skies. This time they sang a heavenly melody familiar to all the baby cherubs. One by one all the cherubs in the garden joined in the song as loud as their baby voices could sing. “Flowerlette and Goldenrod, nursing their disappointment, were the last to join the song, but soon they forgot to be sad and they sang along with the other happy cherubs..
Melody was not quite sure what this all meant and he held tightly to Michael’s hand. “Great archangel, what is creation?”
Michael placed the cherub on the garden post. “Long long ago, before you cherubs came to live in the garden, God created a big round world and sent it out through space until it was far away from the heavens. He called it the earth. It is very different from where you live now, Melody, but still God made it beautiful and lovely. When God saw that what He had made was good, He decided to create many living creatures to dwell on the earth. He made some big, others small, some to wiggle, some to crawl, and He made some tiny ones that can fly just like you. But most important of all His creation on the earth was the man and woman that God created to live there. He called them people. That was long ago, Melody, and now there are many many people on this earth. God loves His people too, more than we angels can ever understand.”
“Will I be happy in creation, Michael?” asked the tiny cherub.
“Oh yes, Melody, you will be ever so happy. Your Heavenly Father is sending you to His earth to become a sweet infant baby. You will be dearly loved and cherished, because you will be like music to the human heart. All around you will be happiness. You will have a mommy and a daddy when you become part of God’s creation. You have made the celestial gardens a joyous place with your melodies, little one, and now you are to play on the heart-strings of your mommy and daddy on the earth and make them joyous too. So you see, Melody, you have been practicing all this time making the heavens happy so that you can be useful and fulfill this very special commission. Do you understand now why God has chosen you?”
Melody scratched his curly tiny top and then rubbed his brow in perplexity–all this knowledge!! His little head could hardly hold it all.
“Will I ever see you again, great angel, and all my friends here in the garden?”
“Oh yes, Melody,” smiled the kind angel. “If you are good and obedient on the earth and always honor your Father in heaven, you will see us again someday, do not fear.
“Then I am glad God chose me to make the human hearts happy,” cried Melody, clapping his hands in glee, “and I will be happy too!”
Tears of happiness dropped to his chubby little cheeks as Melody hung his beloved harp on the willow tree, waved good-by to all the baby cherubs in the celestial garden, and placed his tiny cherub hand in the hand of the mighty archangel. Back down the Jasper Street they went, the majestic angel and the tiny tiny cherub, with the angel chorus chanting heavenly songs behind them.
From the throne of God, a loving heavenly Father will breath upon him the breath of creative life and soon Melody will come as a mystery of God’s creation–an infant baby–a miracle of love. The most adored cherub in heaven given by God to the earth, especially commissioned to a song of happiness into the hearts of his mommy and daddy.
The archangel Michael stands gates of the Heaven as Melody descends to his earthly home. We see the light enfolding his angelic being–he is speaking:
“Mommy and Daddy, I commend unto you our adored
tiniest cherub. You must love and cherish him–as he
was in heaven, so in earth. We entrust you now
with this gift sent from God to bless your happy home.
“Amen and Amen” sing the angel chorus in benediction, as they bow their heads and reverently fold their wings.