Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent Reflections

December 18th

“All creatures great and small…”

Gifts from God come in many shapes and sizes. One special gift came to our family in September 2006. Her name is Sadie Jane Grandfield and she is a golden retriever. Truth be told, I fought getting a dog for years. I wasn’t sure I wanted the responsibility of caring for a puppy. God used another creature to change my heart.
My son Dale received a white lab rat as part of a behavioral experiment he had to do in his senior year of college. The option was to give it back at the end of the experiment or keep it, so as Dale had become friendly with George, he decided to keep him. A year later when Dale moved back home, George became my pet.
I would never have believed I could love a big white rat with pink eyes. However George and I became friends. God used George to teach me many things. As Dale did not get George out of the cage much, George did not want to leave the cage, as much as we tried to coax him. When I grabbed him and pulled him out he was so scared I was afraid his heart would give out.
So George and I were content to keep things as he liked- he in his cage, well fed, and petted occasionally. One day God showed me how as people we are just like George- comfortable in less than desirable circumstances yet unwilling to walk out of the open cage door. I will never forget that rat.
George’s last few weeks were difficult. Unlike our hamster who turned up dead one morning, George would suffer. It was hard to watch, but again, God would use this small creature to speak. In his two short years He had touched my life, and as I prepared for him to die my heart began to change about a dog. Life is short and animals add a wonderful dimension to our lives. When I buried George in the back yard, I knew it was time to look for a puppy.
I think about Jesus being born in a stable surrounded by animals. Remember the story about the animals speaking that night? I’ve never heard an animal actually talk, but they have a profound way of speaking if we listen. Sadie is such a blessing to our family, and at Christmas I thank God for her. Yes, God can minister through all creatures, great and small.

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