Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mr. McGregor, a fine garden, a rascally rabbit and being thankful

In Beatrix Potter’s classic story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter ventured where he was told specifically not to go—Mr. McGregor’s garden. After gorging himself on delicious vegetables, he ran into Mr. McGregor who chased him about with a rake. Scared out of his furry skin, Peter forgot the way back to the gate and then became entangled in a gooseberry net.

As he lay there crying, Potter writes, “Peter gave himself up for lost and shed big tears, but his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement and implored him to exert himself.”

Peter escaped leaving his new blue jacket behind just as Mr. McGregor approached. Later Mr. McGregor used the jacket as a scarecrow to frighten birds.

That’s not all to the story, so if you haven’t read it in a while, here’s an online version of the original text.

We had the opportunity to see a fine recreation of Mr. McGregor’s garden yesterday when we visited our sweet granddaughter at her school for grandparent’s day.

For some years, I’ve had on my desk, the quote above about the sparrows encouraging Peter not to give up. When I feel like I’m trapped in some sort of web myself and all seems lost, it makes me smile to think on Potter’s story about a rabbit in a brass buttoned coat and a gooseberry net.

This Thanksgiving, some of you may not feel like giving thanks. It may be that the enemy has spun a cocoon of despair and hopelessness about you, and you see no way out.

But open your eyes and see that God has already sent someone or something like the friendly sparrows saying, “Don’t’ give up.”

Give thanks for the tiniest of things and it opens the door for God. Find the joy in the small wonders and the grace-filled moments--in purple cabbage, roses still in bloom at Thanksgiving, in children’s bright faces, and a sweet story about a rascally rabbit.

As I sit at my desk, I look up and see the golden leaves of the pair tree floating one by one into the back yard. Our cat Misty sleeps to my left on the sofa, and the tuxedo, Wilbur, is in the window grooming himself for what promises to be a wild afternoon of greeting some of his favorite humans returning from school.

We’re thankful for God’s abundant provision, for His faithfulness, for each other and for the hope that He continues to give us as we navigate through the challenges of this life.

Friends, may your Thanksgiving be blessed with His joy.

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Message).

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