It might surprise you to learn that the Amish believe in angels—good ones and bad ones—who are with us and around us in our modern world, hoping to help or hurt our life’s journey.
Another time, I’ll write a post about the Amish and the bad angels. Today, though, let’s talk about the good ones.
A few years ago, I interviewed an Amish bishop who shared an encounter he once had with an angel, so I felt it would be credible to create a “heavenly host” character in a novel. This bishop explained that he had been stranded on the roadside during a severe winter storm. A car had appeared out of nowhere and the kind driver stopped to offer him a ride to his destination. As the car drove off, there were no tire tracks left in its wake. My bishop friend believed his rescuer to be an angel.
Still, as I wrote Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, I tread carefully around this topic. The Amish take the Bible very literally and, frankly, so do I. In this story, an angel named George was “assigned” to Billy Lapp, a troubled soul. His goal was to help Billy make amends before it was too late.
I stayed close to biblical information as I created George’s personality, though I did add some imaginative elements. For example, George had an unlined, unstressed face. And he was always hungry, happy to accept what was offered to him, but he felt food was always lacking in taste. The way we’d feel if salt were left out of soup. Or the difference between a home grown tomato in August and a store bought one in January. Those things seemed like reasonable assumptions to me because Heaven was George’s home. And for the Amish—for you and me, too—Heaven is the ultimate goal.
And there’s one other characteristic of George the angel—he knew the Bible and quoted it, though he didn’t bother to memorize the numbers of verses. I had to really think that one through—would an angel even know the Bible? Would he need to know? After all, George already had the end of the story. But then, in a way, so do we.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Revealing, The Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her latest book, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm released September 2nd. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is the host of the Amish Wisdom blog, as well as a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She also offers readers a free downloadable app, Amish Wisdom, that delivers a daily Penn Dutch proverb. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Purchase Suzanne’s books here.