They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything. (Bil Keane)
Many of us grew up reading the Sunday funnies and pouring over "Family Circus" - Bil being the faithful creator of that cartoon regular. Many times the scene was one big quarter sheet spread, depicting some element of family life that we all associated with, such as the fiasco of trying to pack up the car for the summer vacation, or the gathering of family around the Christmas tree to open presents all the while remembering the reason we celebrate the season. Did you know it continues in syndication today because his son, Jeff, has taken up the pen to keep it going? Mr. Keane had one very special way of helping us to connect the "reality" of family life with the need we all have for understanding, acceptance, and compassionate love. Many of his cartoon depictions showed family members being embraced by each other - revealing a tremendous truth that each of us longs to be embraced in that hug that tells us we are loved exactly as we are!
This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning. (Psalm 91:2-6 TLB)
I think the wings of a mother hen depict how God brings us close to his heart. As a mother hen spreads her wings, the little chicks can burrow deep within the softest place of her feathers and find not only warmth from her protective embrace, but it as though they become one. The chicks are no longer visible, for the overshadowing protection of those wings helps them be absorbed into the very image she presents to all who would see her. In much the same way, God embraces us under the shelter of his wings - helping us to know both shelter from the coolness of this hard life as it oftentimes can present itself, but also to help us become one with him - so as others look upon us they only see him!
Mr. Keane also reminded us, "A hug is like a boomerang - you get it back right away." God's hugs aren't going to linger forever, but we definitely know when we have experienced his embrace! We are pulled in, held close, if even for a short while, and then we are released with a deeper sense of his love and approval. This won't be a long post this morning, because I just wanted to remind us of the importance of nestling into his wings, but not to neglect the importance of sharing those hugs with those in our lives who have made a difference. Don't neglect to embrace those who need to have a difference made, as well! Just sayin!