Have you read Dogger by Shirley Hughes? I asked just that in a school assembly this week and I was surprised that so many of the children had read the book - Dogger was published in 1977 while I was still at school!
The book always brings a lump to my throat because of the extraordinary kindness of Bella as she resolves the problem that has engulfed her little brother. Dave has lost Dogger, his dearly loved soft-toy dog and no-one can find Dogger anywhere. Dave is still very sad on the day of the school summer fair when, suddenly, on the toy stall, he spots his beloved Dogger with a price tag on him: 5p. Dave only has 3p and he can’t make anyone understand that Dogger is really his and shouldn’t be for sale. Eventually he finds big sister Bella. She has been having a great day and has even won first prize in the raffle, a huge yellow teddy bear with a beautiful blue silk bow.
Bella and Dave rush to the toy stall but they are too late; Dogger has just been bought by a little girl who now refuses to sell him again despite Bella’s pleading. Dave cries. The little girl cries and then she catches sight of Bella’s big yellow teddy and puts out her hand to stroke his beautiful blue silk bow. “Then Bella did something very kind …”
I can’t say more in case you haven’t read the story.
I don’t know what Shirley Hughes intended when she wrote the book but if anyone wanted to picture Jesus Christ’s extraordinary kindness towards us then it would be hard to better this. Bella found a way to rescue Dogger for Dave but it cost her dearly. Jesus Christ found a way to be able to rescue you and me from our self-destructive rebellion against our Creator but he paid a heavy price; the cost was his life.
As November 11th approaches remember Jesus’ words, “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” If you remember who Jesus is and the agonising depths of his suffering on the cross, then this really means “No-one has ever loved you as Jesus did.”