the gift of healing
By Niki Behrikis Shanahan
‘On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.’
Matthew 2:11 (NIV)
We know that Christmas is a time we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. He came here to earth to rescue us and become our Savior. He died for our sins to make us right with God again. The animals had not sinned, but we know they fell into a lost and dying world when mankind sinned. And they are redeemed with us through Jesus Christ. We can never thank God enough for their eternal life with us in Heaven.
There are many aspects of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Some of them are healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Here is the way Jesus summarized it on one occasion when He went to the synagogue.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-21 (NIV)
One of the things that we struggle with is emotional healing. We’ve all had great losses of our beloved animal companions. This time of separation is a huge trial for us all. It’s something we live with daily. But the Bible says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3 NIV) God has a way of healing and helping us through such difficult times. It’s not usually a quick healing, but over time He seems to ease our pain.
There are many ways that God helps us through these trials. He uses others to comfort us. He uses the beauty of nature, and the changing seasons. He uses new animal family members a great deal, I think. Not that they can take the place of those that have gone home for their reward, but they bring us such joy. They keep us company, they make us laugh, they give us unconditional love, and they ask very little in return.
I think you all know that Jack and I have had a bad couple of years with the loss of Lukie and Joey. I don’t have to tell you how hard it has been, because each of you has had the same experience. But to help us along the way – there’s Mickey our cat. He’s a little over a year old now. He’s such a character, a little rascal. He’s so much fun and he makes us laugh and smile. He jumps up in the air and twirls around and does wheelies. He dashes around the house like he’s practicing for the marathon. He has to see everything and know about everything. He is absolutely the noisiest cat I’ve ever seen.
There was a lady that rang our doorbell one day. She had a flat tire and didn’t have her phone with her so she came in our house to call AAA. Mickey was scared so he ran upstairs and hid in the bedroom. But when she left and he came down he went right to the chair where she sat and smelt the floor where her feet were and the chair where she sat, as if to say, “there’s been a alien in my house!”
If a closet door doesn’t close tightly, he’s in there to see what he’s missing. There was a little stuffed toy I was saving to give him later. It’s a frog that makes a rivet noise when you squeeze his belly. It was in a bag in the bedroom closet. He managed to open the closet door, because it doesn’t quite close right and found the frog. I woke up one morning to the find the closet door open and the frog out on the floor! The other day he started unraveling the toilet paper and I heard Jack in the bathroom saying, “you’re not going to start that, are you?” Other times I hear Jack talking to Mickey in the office and he’s saying, “stop it, stop it.” We had to use a clamp to close the medicine cabinet, because he was going up on the counter, opening the medicine cabinet and he kept knocking my brush out into the sink.
I bought a couple of balls and a catnip banana for Mickey for Christmas. I put the bag on top of the microwave on the kitchen counter until I could bring it upstairs. Next thing I knew Mickey was up on the counter trying to get into the bag of toys.
Oh, and he knocked a little porcelain bath tub off the bathroom shelf and broke it. And Thanksgiving night he managed to knock a lamp off a table, but it landed upside down and was caught in between a soft cushion chair and the sofa. Thank God it didn’t break. The most important thing is that he doesn’t get hurt, which is why he needs a lot of supervision right now.
Yes, Mickey keeps us busy. Does this sound a little like your house? Well perhaps the Lord had us pick Mickey to keep us busy and make us laugh a little. I’m sure He knew we needed it. Maybe you have a little one that snuggles up in bed with you, and is waiting at the door to greet you when you get home. Maybe they watch TV with you at night, and play a game of ball. We can give them a big hug and a kiss and thank the Lord for the great gift of our babies.
Yes, the Lord is watching out for us, and I think he has a sense of humor, don’t you? I hope and pray that each of you and your family members have a happy and blessed Christmas. Give them a big hug and a kiss from me!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17 (NIV)
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