By Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP

It ™s Christmas time.  A time I often reflect on how God has blessed us so richly.  One of his greatest blessings is the animals.  This morning our pastor used a wonderful animal analogy in explaining God ™s mercy on us.  I wanted to share it with you and expand upon it a bit in hopes that this analogy will help you better appreciate and thus enjoy this often-stressful holiday season.

Christmas is all about God ™s tender mercy on us, and His plan to save us from ourselves.  As my pastor tried to explain mercy this morning, he recalled the feeling he had as he walked through local shelters and saw the dogs & cats that needed homes.  He was not an animal person (but I think he is now!), yet the plight of these little ones tugged at his heart.  He wanted to save them all.  God has this same desire to save us all.  His love for us tugs at His heart.  Some of us gladly jump into His arms, lick His face and enter His family with tails wagging.  Others pull back, bare our teeth and bite or scratch when He tries to feed us.  It is so comforting to know that God will keep working with the reticent, hoping they will someday come around.  I just love that God has given us animals to help demonstrate His love for us.

When I come home each evening I find my dog running towards my car, wiggling and squirming with joy.  My first reaction is to feel loved and to share in the joy that my dog is experiencing.  I am often reminded that I wish I could approach God like that – with reckless abandon and pure joy.  How lovely would my life be if I could just develop that one skill?  I am so thankful to God that He has given me this daily reminder of how much He loves me.  I hope you feel that same joy, peace and love this Christmas.

(If you want to hear the entire sermon with the dog adoption story, go to and under the resources tab, go to sermons.  It is the 12/12/10 sermon and will likely be available just after Christmas.)