Thanks for the Pardon

They’ve probably arrived in Washington by now, sequestered from the media in a hush-hush location. Born and raised to be the rock stars of their generation, every detail of their lives has come together for this moment. Even their names have been kept secret. These two made the cut from the cream of the crop, but only one will carry on the proud tradition. Only one will strut into the Rose Garden. Only one will come face-to-face with the President.

The other serves as an alternate in case of disaster most fowl. Just for riding along and waiting in the wings (sorry!) he enjoys an all-expense-paid trip to DC. Oh, and his life is spared. He, too, is pardoned. While millions of their feathered friends make the ultimate sacrifice, these two birds grew fat enough and preened well enough to receive this year’s presidential pardon. Nice work if you can get it. A pardon is a gift beyond measure.

Kind indulgence or forgiveness of a serious offense? Both fall under the definition of pardon. Of course, the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Celebration, a White House event since 1947, is little more than an American anecdote. Last year President Obama joked that this tradition is “one of the most important duties I carry out as President.” We Americans love to root for the underdog, until it’s time to eat him. Pardon schmardon, pass the drumsticks, please.

Compared to the God of the Universe, we’re probably not much smarter than turkeys; however, He made us in His own image. He gave us the ability to understand our need for a reprieve from the selfishness we are born with. Unlike one or two special birds, chosen from a flock and the rest be damned, each of us is loved by God with a passion that flows through His very heart. In the apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he says “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV) The truth is that our pardon is no kind indulgence, no American anecdote, no warm, fuzzy feeling dressed up for the holidays. Our pardon is forgiveness for all our offenses; a ransom for the redemption of our souls through the blood of Jesus Christ. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Last year’s turkey duo, Apple and Cider, are living out their retirement at the historically preserved Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, former home of George Washington. This year’s winners will join them in gobbling around the Virginia countryside. Prior birds presided as Grand Marshals of the Disneyland Thanksgiving Parade. Again, nice work if you can get it. But we who have accepted the pardon granted by God Himself look forward to our everlasting home, safe in the arms of the One who loves us most. No special privilege required; just believe, ask, and receive. Nice work, done on our behalf. Indeed.

© 2011 Rachel Ophoff, Coconut Mountain Communications LLC. All Rights Reserved.

For more information on the love of Jesus, please visit my website at

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