Isaiah 7:13-14 – Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (NIV)
Having five dogs is always interesting! In fact on any given day, there is seldom a dull moment in our home. As Christmas approaches, however, the term "interesting" rises to a brand new level. Once the dogs' Christmas presents are wrapped and placed under the tree, it skyrockets!
Canines have a sense of smell 40 times greater than humans have, so keeping their gifts a secret is next to impossible. And even more impossible are my efforts to keep them from diving under the tree, where they enthusiastically and repeatedly nose, root and scramble to retrieve, rip open and chew on any and all packages giving off the delectable fragrance of sterilized beef bones.
The first few years our beasties displayed such behaviour were rather frantic ones for me — frantic because I was determined to teach them better manners, while they were just as determined to ignore all my efforts. One day after an especially trying and futile episode of dog obedience(?) lessons, a very new and enlightening thought flitted across my mind. It went something like this: The dogs can never wait to open their Christmas presents. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people were as enthusiastic about unwrapping the mystery of knowing Jesus, God's Christmas gift to man?
Such an idea stopped me in my tracks. It caused me to consider just where my enthusiasm was being directed during this holy and blessed season, a season that is meant to overflow with the fragrance of God's love, joy, hope and peace. For it is the season where the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Since that Christmas of enlightenment, I have stopped being frantic when the dogs prematurely dive under the tree to unwrap their presents. Rather, I allow their enthusiasm to direct my thoughts to the most important gift of all: God with us, in the person of Jesus!
Prayer: Wonderful heavenly Father, thank you for the best Christmas gift of all, your Son Jesus. Grant us hearts of enthusiasm for delving into the depths of loving and knowing Him more and more fully, so that the fragrant spirit of Christmas love, joy, hope and peace within us might be our gift to others all year long. Amen.