I’m just four days into the Advent readings and hanging ornaments on the Jesse tree and the anticipation of Christmas Day is upon me. I feel it building a little more each day as I read a little more of the greatest love story in all of history. At the close of each day’s devotion I am filled with a great desire to turn the page and read on. It is taking quite a bit of discipline to patiently wait, reading just a little bit each day, excitement swelling within me. I love a love story and I know how this one goes, yet I feel like a little child who wants to hear her favorite book read over and over again, each time it somehow seems fresh and new and exciting. I could devour it in one sitting, but instead I’m savoring it and hanging on every word, following each twist and turn, relishing in the unveiling as it leads to something beautiful.
Cole and Chloe love to be a part of anything we do, so naturally I was holding her yesterday morning while reading our daily portion.
Still soaking up the day’s lesson, my mom and I began to reflect on a Christmas eight years ago when we received an unexpected blessing…
It was late November/early December 2003, I was working not too far from the mall so I spent many lunch hours meandering through stores and often stopped by the pet store to watch the puppies playing in the window. You cannot watch puppies play for too long before you start wanting to take one home! I set my sights on one in particular and I watched him through the window for several days before asking to spend a little time with him in the playroom. I greatly enjoyed playing with toys and tossing balls for him, he was FULL of energy and cuteness and after a little time with him I decided that on Christmas Eve I would bring him home with me.
The morning of Christmas Eve 2003, my mom went with me to the pet store (I know…buying animals from pet stores is not the best thing to do and there are numerous sites for finding rescue animals in need of good homes…now my dad volunteers with Pilots N Paws to help get rescue pets to new homes, so we’d definitely go that route in the future). Back to the pet store…I went straight to the back of the store and looked for my puppy, but he was nowhere to be found. I looked in the playroom and finally asked an employee about him. She said he had been adopted out the day before. I was crushed. Sure, there were other puppies in need of homes, but none of them were “my puppy”. Leaving empty handed, my eyes filled with tears as we made our way through the sea of last minute shoppers and out to the parking lot. My mom suggested we go to the other pet store nearby just to take a look. I was doubtful that they would have a puppy for me, it was Christmas Eve after all…I was certain most puppies had found their way into homes already. Nevertheless, I agreed to take a look.
There were several puppies awaiting homes in this pet store and I carefully looked at each one, watching them sleep and play in their kennels. I was already emotional and did not want to make a quick decision, so we watched and waited…there were two tiny Maltese puppies rolling around in a kennel together. After watching them play for a while I asked to see the smaller one of the two. As soon as the pet store employee placed her in my arms I knew that she was “my puppy”. I held her close and did not let her go. It was just moments later that we heard a howling cry and looked to see her playmate, still in his kennel, looking towards us turning his little head up and letting out a sorrowful cry. Immediately my mom asked to hold him and soon after, we left that store with not one puppy, but two.
Flash forward eight years and we still feel so blessed. I cannot imagine having any other puppy. During that time when my hope was set on one puppy, God had a better plan in motion to fulfill the longing in my heart. Cole and Chloe were unexpected, but perfect gifts that day. On a day that started out full of hope, then quickly filled with sadness and letting go of my heart’s desire and my one Christmas wish, I opened my hands to receive the gift God had prepared for me.