It was one of those things that I never thought of until I read about it, and yet once I got through the story, I found it entirely believable. Upon further reflection, I think it also gives us something upon which to chew during this holiday season.

According to the Associated Press, a veterinarian in Edmond, Oklahoma, recently removed 21(!) pacifiers from a dog’s belly. You read it right – TWENTY-ONE PACIFIERS IN A DOG’S BELLY. According to the story, a local couple was having trouble figuring out to where all their baby’s pacifiers kept disappearing, when the baby’s grandmother noticed the family pooch snagging one off the counter. Initially thinking there were only 7-9 pacifiers, the veterinarian was more than a little surprised when surgery revealed the stomach’s true contents. Stating the obvious, the veterinarian noted that, “dogs will eat anything, any time, at any age.”

One of the great gifts of the church universal and triumphant is the season of Advent, wherein we the faithful set aside a specific season of worship and preparation as we get ready to celebrate once again the birth of the Christ child. This story about the dog and the pacifiers brought a few things to mind as we head down the path to the Christmas season which begins on December 25:

1. Do we just consume anything our senses desire without any thought to whether or not these things are good for us? The dog did not care at all about anything but consuming that which was at his level and around which he could get his mouth. Do we just grab anything we can to put within us this time of year, or do we practice discernment about intentionally seeking to consume that which draws us closer to God and closer to each other in the spirit of the Advent season?

2. Do we realize that consuming less-than-productive or outright harmful things exacts a tremendous cost for those closest to us? My parents have often told the story that they spent more on Joe Soileau (our veterinarian) than Conway S. Magee (our pediatrician) when Carolyn and I were kids in Lake Charles. As a faithful pet-lover, I know what it’s like to have to shell out some cash for the unexpected canine or feline predicament, and hold no ill-will towards our furry beloveds because they are like children to us. However, like the dog in the story above, the dogs and cats over the years I believe had no intention of trying to put us in difficult logistical or financial circumstances – they were simply acting on their instincts. Journeying through Advent and towards the celebration of the Christ-child, do we pay attention to how our actions and attitudes have deep and lasting impacts on those around us, and do we attempt to breath life into each other?

“Dogs will eat anything, anytime, at any age,” the veterinarian reminds us – as we journey through Advent do we take time to reflect upon what we are consuming and it’s effects on us; and, do we realize that what we consume does impact those around us?

We are halfway home to Christmas. Two lights of the Advent wreath are lit. Let’s continue to be vigilant in our preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth through our faithfulness to God and love for one another.

Grace and Peace,