John 1:32 – Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him." (NIV)
For years, a pair of collared doves used to nest in a hanging basket outside my grandfather's home. All day long, they could be heard cooing to one another, as if they were saying, "I love you." They were beautiful birds, and my Grandpa Stuart really enjoyed watching them. He was also very proud that they had chosen to nest at his home, and each year, he watched them hatch and brood a new generation of collared doves. Eventually, there were collared doves all over the neighbourhood, and during summer when I visited him, it was beautiful to see and hear them.
My grandfather died a few weeks before our family was due to immigrate to America. His funeral was the last one I led before I left Scotland's shores. When we eventually settled in East Tennessee, we all felt lonely and isolated from our Scottish friends and relatives. It was hard to adjust, and at times, we all just wanted to pack our bags and go back home.
The next spring, I hung up some baskets of red flowers to attract hummingbirds. One day, I was feeling sorry for myself and wishing I were back in Scotland. I went out onto the front porch to water the hanging baskets. As I started to pour the water, I heard a familiar sound. To my delight and surprise, I saw a collared dove sitting in the basket, huddled over several eggs. She didn't move, and quietly, I stepped back. She began cooing again, and I felt at home. It was as if God had given me a sign that everything was going to work out just fine. It was as if He was telling me that East Tennessee could now become my home.
Just like at my Grandpa's house, over the years, collared doves settled all over the neighbourhood. Each summer, it was beautiful to see and hear them.
When John sees the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus like a dove, it must have made him feel good. He had waited for years for that precious and sacred moment. When it came, it affirmed his ministry and made him feel that his work was complete. His part in God's story of salvation was over. Now that Christ had come, John could hand over the reins of leadership to the holy Son of God, Who continued to preach a message of repentance and to tell the world, "God loves you."
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for coming into our world to reassure us that we are not alone and that there is an eternal hope that we can cling to in the midst of all our worries and fears. Descend upon our spirits, like a dove, and grant us Your mercy, love, and peace. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.