The Velveteen Rabbit – Lessons on Love and Eternity

My husband, who is not yet a believer in God, read an old children’s story today called “The Velveteen Rabbit.” He texted me later to say that it was “very enjoyable” so I decided to revisit the story to see what it had to say about the eternal themes of love and sacrifice.

It’s a very gently written book that I was planning to give to my two-year old niece Alexis to help shape her heart and conscience.

Some beautiful passages that struck me, that I thought others might like to read too:

“The Rabbit could not claim to be Real, for he didn’t know that Real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself.” This is our condition when we are alone spiritually, without God in the world. As it is written:

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world…(Ephesians 2:12)

“Real isn’t how you are made’, said the Skin Horse. “It happens to you when a child loves you for a long time, not just to play with, but really loves you. Then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off and you have become very shabby. But these things don’t matter, because once you are Real you can never be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“Are you Real?” asked the Rabbit.

“Yes, said the Skin Horse. “The Boy’s uncle made me Real a great many years ago. Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again.”

What is this longing we have to be truly loved, in spite of our many defects, to be honoured in spite of the many actions we undertake that show simply that we do not deserve it? Where does the longing for transcendence over the bitterness of our earthly struggles come from? Hasn’t God placed eternity in our hearts? As the Bible teaches us:

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. (Ecc. 3:11)

And don’t we seek His face everywhere, like pilgrims setting out on a long and arduous journey for the faith we had so easily when we were little ones? The scriptures tell us that the longing for Christ is universal:

And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. (Mark 1:37)

Here then is our hope. We do have someone who loves us unconditionally in spite of our sins and difficulties: God. By accepting His love and being “born again” spiritually we can transcend our old, earthly nature and become truly Real. Just as the Velveteen Rabbit became Real due to the Boy’s enduring love for him. One of the greatest passages in scripture, from the book of John, reveals God’s beautiful promise for all people:

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:4-8)

11 thoughts on “The Velveteen Rabbit – Lessons on Love and Eternity

  1. Since my children are in their 40’s, and don’t live close enough for me to spend much time with my grandchildren, I hadn’t though of The Velveteen Rabbit in years. Very good insight.

  2. By accepting His love and being “Born Again” Spiritually we can transcend our old, earthly nature and become truly Real.

    This is True Naomi, but what is Truly Real …….

    1 John 3:9 No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God sins; but He who was Born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. or if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 6-7 ) Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man/woman deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Romans 6 : 1 – 2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    2 Timothy 2:19-21 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

    Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

    Romans 8: 8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. or if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons/daughters of God.

    Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Romans 6:18-20 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.

    Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    Titus 2:13-15 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all Authority. Let no man despise thee.

    Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    2Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in Peace; and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne.

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