So this year we have really ramped up our ‘watch everything Christmas’ plan.

I did not intend for it to show me insight into the gift of free will but…We have stepped up our game and are really conquering the christmas specials, even the not so popular ones.  

Last Thursday, Ted, Summer and I hunkered down on the couch covered in warm, cozy blankets with the fireplace going and we turned on Netflix.  

Upon Summer’s choosing, we watched the “How To Train Your Dragon” Christmas special called “Gift of the Night Fury”.

I have not even seen the main movie so I had no idea what I was getting into, however, there was something I found shockingly powerful in this story.  

But in order for you to understand, let me update you on what I found when I Googled the plot of the main movie.  Bear with me.

Hiccup is a fifteen-year old boy and he has a pet dragon named Toothless.  I won’t get into the details of how this all happened, but just stick with me here.  

Toothless was once able to fly but no longer can because half of his tail fin had been ripped off.  

Hiccup designs a harness rig and a prosthetic fin that allows Toothless to fly, but only with Hiccup riding, controlling the prosthetic.  

Are you still with me?  Ok, let’s move on to the Christmas special.

gift of free will
gift of free will

It opens with Hiccup and Toothless happily flying around together.  At some point, all of the dragons fly away leaving their ‘owners’ except Toothless because he can’t fly.  

ALSO, at some point Hiccup lost his helmet in the sea.  Anyways, out of compassion, Hiccup builds Toothless a new automatic prosthesis allowing him independent flight, therefore giving him his freedom.  

So Toothless flies off with the other dragons, too.  This devastates Hiccup.  However, through miraculous circumstances Toothless returns – the reason he had flown away was to go search for Hiccup’s lost helmet.  

He used his freedom to do something loving for Hiccup who had set him free.

This moment in the movie struck me.  They then hugged and embraced…Hiccup was so overjoyed that Toothless hadn’t left him.  

I am not a philosophical thinker nor do I have any education on the subject but let me bring up four HUGE words:  GIFT OF FREE WILL. 

gift of free will

Hiccup gave Toothless the gift of free will.  

He made him this beautiful prosthetic that gave him his freedom.  He could have gone anywhere with it!  His options were endless!  Even one as simple as just going to where the other dragons were.  

But that’s not what he chose to do.  He saw Hiccup’s act of kindness and love and, instead of leaving him, he actually used the gift of free will that Hiccup had given him to do something nice FOR Hiccup. 

Hiccup knew this was a risk when he made the prosthetic but he did it out of compassion anyways.  What a reward it was for him to see Toothless still choose him even though now he could choose anything in the world. 

I wonder what God felt in the Garden of Eden,
when He created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil…
when he gave us the gift of free will.  
I wonder if His heart raced a little with fear…
if His hands shook a little with hesitancy. 
I wonder if, as He gave Adam and Eve the grand tour, 
if he debated skipping this part of the show. 
Don’t give them options.  
Don’t let them have a choice.

“If I don’t give them a choice, they will always choose Me”…did that go through His head?  Maybe.  

But then maybe He realized that, if He did that, they wouldn’t really be choosing Him because they never even knew that they had a choice.  He must have been terrified…

The same kind of terrified that I was on Summer’s first day of Kindergarten.  This was the first day that I officially introduced other influences into her life.  I was no longer the clear number one.  I was no longer the only voice she heard.  

She was now going to be hearing lots of voices and they would only grow in number.  I cried so hard for that whole first week of school…was I losing my baby?

gift of free will
Do you think that God cried a little? 
Shed a tear or two? 
Felt like He was losing His babies? 
Just because He knew He had opened Himself up to risk?
Just because He knew things would change now? 
We weren’t going to be in His bubble anymore.

Every day God gives me a prosthetic…my independence…my freedom.  He gives me the gift of free will. And a lot of times I take full advantage and fly away, far from Him.  

But I hope I always come back.  

I pray that I always come back.  

And then, one of these times, I would really like to shock Him by choosing to stay that day in the first place.  And then, hopefully, day after day.  That I just keep choosing to stay…and then use the freedom that HE gave me to love Him.

Even though the world is my oyster 
and I could choose to follow a million other things, 
I will try to choose to stay with Him, 
following Him along the way 
and loving Him right back 
so we can enjoy the oyster with each other, 
just like He planned all along. 

“Therefore choose life that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD you God, obeyinghis voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”                                                                         Deuteronomy 30:19b-20 

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