This is our fourth advent post prior to Christmas. Each week leading up to Christmas, we take the time to focus on the real reason for our merriment. While we mark the days for the coming of Christmas, we also recall the coming of our Savior. Today, we consider LOVE.
I had just given our dog a very nice bone from a roast. This is a rare treat so I had forgotten how painfully pititful it would become. You see, my porky little Yorkie, Hughie, has a funny way of dealing with new bones. When we give him a new bone, especially if it is a big one, he frets. Yes, I think that is the best word to describe it…”fret”. It is decidedly sad and indescribably pitiful.
The first time it occurred, I felt awful. I had gleefully placed an extra fine bone, wrapped in chicken jerky even, at his feet. I thought he’d scamper off in delight, hunker down on a nearby rug, and enjoy chewing it. That is what NORMAL dogs do, right? Well, my “not so normal” Yorky, instead took the oversized bone in his mouth and proceeded to pace around the room emitting a heartbreaking, crying sound. It was a combination of whining and whimpering. No amount of consoling tones seemed to help. He insisted on carrying it around from room to room as if he was in agony. Eventually, after numerous attempts to bury and unbury it in rugs or blankets, and after easily 10 minutes of pacing around the house, he would settle down and timidly begin to enjoy it.
I gave him something extra special and he acted as if I had placed undue burden on him. He whined, whimpered and wagged his nub of a tail as if he were being hurt or neglected. Instead of feeling like a benevolent dog owner, I felt like I was being cruel. It truly is a most absurd, pitiful sight to behold.
I followed him around the house, listening to his cries, trying to lift him up onto the sofa so he could “bury” the bone. It was not until later, much later, that I found him nibbling on it peacefully. Sigh, it is a shame when a gift seems more like a burden.
Hughie’s sad response to his bone immediately came to mind as I read the verse for today’s advent post.
“ By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is LOVE, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (cancelation) for our sin.” (1John 4:9-10)
God’s love for us is not to be a burden, it is a gift. How often do we let ourselves be concerned with the notion that we need to earn God’s love, or that acceptance of His love means we have to work at being worthy. I “fret” about being loved and feel guilty for my lack of worth. God’s love to us is full of grace, an undeserved gift. When we allow ourselves to accept His gift of Love, let it fill our hearts and life, THEN we will know His HOPE, feel His PEACE, and share His JOY…. I do not have to be perfect for I am perfected in His love.
This week, no more “fretting”, it is time to settle down and fully take in God’s love. Grab this truth, hunker down, chew on it, and enjoy it…the great Christmas Gift….GOD loves you!
* Please look for the reposting of “The Christmas Tree Angel” this Christmas Eve….I hope it continues to be an encouragement and reminder of His love for you, as it is for me each year. May God Bless you all with sweet times with loved ones and days filled with laughter and rest.