Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Dr. Seuss

My requirements for a dog were simple: a mean bark, great with kids (I had none, but you know), housebroken, youngish (without being a puppy) and a few other minor details. Lucy was none of those. But she had the most beautiful, soulful eyes. And from the moment they brought her into the little “Getting To Know You” pen at the Seminole County Humane Society, she had my heart. And very obviously, I had hers.

Lucy is a Shepherd/Rottweiler mix (a Shepweiler as I call her) and Rottweiler’s are known for not sitting straight up – rather they lean, preferably (in Lucy’s case) against me. Also, when she wants to be petted she has a perfect knack of being able to get my hand to rest upon her head. And she’ll move her head back and forth if need be, just to be petted.

I’ve had Lucy with me for just over 10 years now. Each and every day when I come home Lucy is as happy and excited to see me as she was the first time we met. She knows my voice and responds to it (especially when it involves the word “treat”). She knows what it means when I pull out my suitcase, the sound of my alarm going off in the morning, and that tears in eyes means she should put her head in my lap and just be close.

By now you’re wondering… what the heck does this have to do with God and Christmas? I mean, it is your Christmas letter, SURELY you’re going to talk about the birth of Jesus, your trips to Belize, living in Columbia right?? Well today was one of those days where Lucy’s excitement over seeing me was as sweet and genuine as our first meeting. When I walked in the front door tonight she came “running” (she’s 14 – so running may be a stretch) to see me and, as always, leaned. Just like she did the very first time I met her. It struck me today though, that Lucy has ALWAYS done this… it wasn’t the initial high of getting adopted… it’s every day.

I began to wonder why I am not more like my dog with God. He has given me so much… not just the necessities of life, but also quite a few treats. He has blessed me so abundantly, but typically each day I come home, complaining about how long my day was, how tired I was or how hungry I am.
My dog taught me a lesson today… about gratefulness… and love. Regardless of how many times I’ve yelled at Lucy for whatever annoying thing she may be doing… or forgot to fill up her water bowl… or forgot to buy her treats at the store (accidentally, of course)… she is always ready to show she loves me regardless if we’ve been separated for 5 minutes or 5 days.

And I also realized Christmas is about more than treats and necessities. It’s about a God who loves me so much, beyond so much, that he did the one thing that can save me and allow me to have eternal life with him. It’s about a God who says, “Welcome, child” lovingly whether it’s been 5 minutes since I’ve spoken with him or 5 days. And Christmas letters are about more than sharing my life over the past 12 months. It’s about sharing the most important part of my life. Christmas is about Jesus, plain and simple.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Luke 2: 8-12 (NLT)
Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

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