Once upon a time, there was a little Princess named Amy. For her first Christmas, she was given a stuffed animal. This wasn’t just any stuffed animal. He was called “Praise Puppy”, made by Gund, exclusively for Family Christian Bookstores. She was immediately enamored with him. She slept with him under her arm while sucking her thumb. Puppy, as she would call him, became a necessity. He went everywhere with her.
The one time he got left behind, she was so unhappy, her brother, Ryan went to the hotel’s gift shop and purchased her a little TY dog named, Taffy. Taffy became part of her family too. They were inseparable as far as Amy was concerned and where she went they were sure to tag along. She even took them to sleepovers until it was not cool to bring your stuffed animals. But she was never too cool at home not to sleep with them. She always slept with Puppy and Taffy tucked under her arm. She often went to sleep picking Puppy’s belly. Poor thing, he has the bare spots to prove it and his neck is limp from her squeezing him under her arm. (Taffy is frail too).
Then one day she went away to college. She left behind her Puppy and Taffy. In her estimation, she had outgrown them. However, within the first six weeks of college, she was miserably homesick. Something she was not prepared for and neither was I. I asked her if she wanted me to bring her Puppy and Taffy because I knew in a small way they would be a huge comfort to her. She happily agreed.
Puppy and Taffy remained with her throughout her college years and even when she went to Charleston to begin grad school, Puppy and Taffy tagged along too.
This past Christmas, I wanted to find something unique and special for her. Something that she would not anticipate or expect. Something that would surprise her, maybe even blow her mind a little. (That’s a hard thing to do.) However, a fleeting thought passed through my mind, “What if I could find a new, never used Puppy.” Fortunately, the search was easy and I found a new, never-used, bagged Praise Puppy.
Can I be honest here? He was not very costly but I was more excited about giving him to her than the costlier gifts. Honestly, I could hardly contain my excitement. Little did I know how much this gift would mean. It wasn’t until I was writing out her clues for the scavenger hunt that I realized the impact of this gift.
Friends, I think we all need to be reminded as I reminded Amy on Christmas morning:
- You are rare. God made only one of you and you are uniquely made. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13-14
- You are new. When we believe in Jesus we are made new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
- You belong to Jesus and you will be with Him forever. “But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-2. “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16