Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Amazing Hornbill

In Africa there lives a most unusual bird , the Hornbill, so named because of her large beak and the horn above her beak.

The natural habitat of the Hornbill is in the vaulted space high above the green canopies of the jungle. She loves to fly and is swift of wing eluding her would be predators. She swoops and soars in the vastness of her freedom.
But then comes the time to raise her young and this considered ugly bird plays out a beautiful ritual.

First she seeks and finds a hollow in a tree that is large enough to allow room for her large body.
She enters and does not come out again until her family is grown.
Immediately she and her mate go to work to close up the entrance to her nest with mud and dung until the entrance is completely closed off – except for a slot that is the exact shape of her beak. Through this hole her mate will pass her her food while she lays her eggs and sits on them . When they hatch he will have to work even harder to provide enough food for all of them .
Not only does the slot opening allow food to be brought in but it serves for another purpose as well. With perfect aim she passes her own waste out of the nest… thereby not only keeping her nest clean but also using her deadly aim as an effective deterrent to curious little monkeys who might try to reach into the opening for a quick meal.
Her children will be perfectly safe but their safety is also her prison.

And so she sits and waits in her self-imposed prison of darkness for her chicks to hatch. But once they have hatched she does the most amazing thing. One by one she pulls out all her feathers…her flying feathers.... and tosses them out through the nest opening.
Because in the small space of the nest her feather shafts would scratch and hurt her babies and in an act of extreme love she gives up the very thing that defines her nature – her ability to fly!

I’m sure you can see where I am going with the illustration this Hornbill mother portrays.

What a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us.
He gave up the glorious expanse of eternity and came down to a tiny place on the miniscule speck we call earth - so insignificant when viewed from the great universe of eternity, His natural habitat. He was held here, made captive by the dung of our sin – yours and mine.
And yet He came and stayed willingly --- captive and vulnerable yet there was an opening left --- an opening through which He communicated with His Father receiving the sustenance and strength that He needed.

He was said to have “no form or comeliness and when we see Him no beauty that we should desire Him” (Is. 52:3) and yet to those who loved Him He was beautiful.

Not only did He come to ‘sit’ with those He came to save but He limited Himself to their same space making Himself vulnerable in the same weak , human flesh we all are imprisoned in.
He gave up the freedom of His natural life , yes – the very glory He had shared with His Father.

And then He did the ultimate… He put off the very flesh that gave Him life… He put it off so that we could live. He gave His life that we might live - not hurt by the shafts of God’s judgment ‘feathers’ but rather comforted by the down on His breast.

Is it not an amazing God we call Father?

Isaiah 66:13 “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you!”


Judy said...

Thank-you again, Julie, for a wonderful picture of Jesus love for us! Your blogs are always an encouragement...and I look forward to visiting you often in the new year.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Wonderful thoughts Julie...especially after all the birds I have been seeing this Christmas. It is amazing that God agreed to take on our form.

Lovella ♥ said...

Thank you Julie for another wonderful lesson from creation itself. I really think you should have been a teacher. A bible school teacher . .oh you are so gifted.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Isn't it amazing and wonderful how His creation speaks to us of Him...I am continually in awe whenever such examples are brought to my attention.

Demara said...

Julie you're amazing! This story is so shocking yet rewarding too! I sat here reading my mouth gaping at first and then I felt loved and finally tears. Why do you have to write with such emotion-triggering words??? Grrr...You do a very good job at it! Thank-you God for Julie's gift here, you truly speak through her always!!! Love you Father~

Unknown said...

This is plagiarism. This was originally written by Walter Wangerin from his book "The Manger is Empty"