I miss my homing pigeons. I miss seeing them flying around the property, walking on the lawn, or sitting on the loft sunning themselves. I miss feeding them twice a day and just looking after them. After we returned from 20 years away from our hometown, I had a good-sized flock of them. I took them out for a fly quite often, and they always beat me home. During those years, we lived on four acres (1.62 hectares) of land on the outskirts of town, but when we moved into town almost four years ago, I had to give them up.
At that time, we put up a bird feeder behind our house, and this year, we have had about five or six doves come to the feeder every day. I started putting feed out every day at 4:30 p.m., just like I did with my pigeons, and as soon as I do, they appear from somewhere.
Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are very abundant here in southern Ontario, Canada. They are beautiful birds to look at, and they are related to pigeons. They look very similar, actually, although they are much smaller.
Doves are mentioned about 50 times in the Bible. In researching the Scriptures, I found such diverse mention of them. In Leviticus, they were to be used as burnt offerings, and in Psalm 55:6, the writer wanted to fly away on the wings of a dove and be at rest.
The first mention of a dove is when Noah wanted to see if there was dry land after the ark had settled on Mount Ararat. He released a dove which came back — a harbinger of new life in a desolate world.
Genesis 8:11 – Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. (NKJV)
But the greatest mention of a dove is at the time of Jesus' baptism. At the Jordan River, John was telling the people that there would come someone far greater than him, when Jesus arrived and asked to be baptized. At first, John objected, but then, he did as Jesus asked.
Matthew 3:16-17 – When he had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (NKJV)
When you see a dove, just remember those wonderful words of Scripture, telling us that Jesus is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and reminding us that the power of the Holy Spirit is likewise still available to us today. Doves brought those signs of new life to a desolate world then, and they still speak to us now.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the words of Scripture which tell us that doves brought good news to Noah and his family, to the people at the Jordan River, and to us right here, right now. We thank You, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "All Hail To Thee Immanuel" (Lyrics)