Day 17 – Free hugs today!

Have you ever been sad and just needed a hug? That’s exactly how Juan Mann felt the day he flew back to Sydney, Australia, after being away from home: “Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me.”

That experience prompted Juan to stand at a busy city intersection, holding a white cardboard sign with big black letters that declared, “FREE HUGS.” At first, people just stared at him. They walked right on by, thinking he was out of his mind. But, slowly, one by one, they took him up on his offer. Soon Juan was giving hugs left and right! People were lifted up just because a stranger cared enough to simply give them a hug.

As I watched the FREE HUG campaign video on You Tube, I couldn’t help but picture Jesus, who walks around like Juan did, waiting for people to accept His free gift. His arms are open wide, ready to embrace anyone who feels alone or lost or forgotten. All they have to do is accept His love.

For those who don’t yet know the Lord, He offers eternal life – the opportunity to be born again and experience freedom from the slavery to sin. To those of us who have already received the gift of salvation, Jesus fills us with peace and joy, even during the most difficult times in our lives. When our hearts are heavy, we can hear the Lord speaking words of comfort as we meditate on His promises. His Presence envelops us like a thick, warm blanket, and we can almost picture the Lord with arms extended, inviting us to draw closer to Him.

God wants to give you a great big bear hug. Throw your arms open wide, and let Him just hold you. Linger in His embrace, and enjoy the moment. Then, after you have received your gift from the Lord, share His love with others. Give out a free hug (or two) today!

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15