A Descending Dove

Read: Matthew 3:13-17

The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22 NIV)

The nurses in a local hospice facility attach a laminated white paper dove to the wall outside the room whenever a patient dies, symbolizing release from this life to the next and providing a comforting visual for grieving family members.

One summer, a lovely white dove (or pigeon) regularly visited our deck. He had a dignified, intriguing appearance, and our son named him Wingston. Each leg had a colored band, so we assumed he was a homing pigeon or had been tagged for an ecological study. After a couple months, he stopped coming by and we missed seeing him perch on the railing or rooftop. He had become a messenger of peace during an unsettling period in our son’s life.

Because of its role in Jesus’ baptism, the dove has also come to represent the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 4, this same Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, and it was the power and peace of the Holy Spirit that enabled Jesus to withstand the Devil’s temptations. The voice accompanying the dove had declared the Father’s love and delight. As this audible and tangible evidence of God’s presence helped prepare Jesus for his life’s ministry, so God’s Spirit lives within every believer, empowering them for life and service. —Denise Vredevoogd

As you pray, thank God for visible reminders of his presence and peace.

About the Author

​​Denise Vredevoogd is a private piano teacher who lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan. She enjoys reading, writing, gardening, and spending time in nature with her adult sons and daughters.