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Superheroes are big business today. Most children have their favorite– Spiderman, Superman, Batman, etc. Superheroes are pretend. They have powers that go beyond what a normal person can do. Traditionally the superhero used his ability to help mankind.

Smokey the Bear–who remembers the iconic symbol of conservation wearing his Park Ranger uniform and carrying a spade? He’d point at you from the TV screen or poster and say, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” And the chorus of Smokey’s song remains with me today.

“Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear, howlin’ and a growlin’ and a sniff in the air; He can find a fire before it starts to flame, that’s why they call him Smokey, that is how he got his name.”

The real Smokey Bear was rescued as an orphan cub from a New Mexico forest fire in 1950. He lived in the National Zoo in Washington, DC until his death in 1976

 

This was my Smokey Bear.

As you can see, he was hugged and cuddled many times through out my childhood. I don’t know if I named him Smokey, or if he already had that name when he came to me.

I have a Smokey the Bear scarf. I thought I had lost it long ago. However, I found it in a box while cleaning out the other day. I suppose this really dates me.

To me, Smokey is a hero. He taught so many of us the value of trees and forests. So much is lost when a forest burns down, not only animals and their habitats, but also homes and people’s lives.

The symbol of Smokey the Bear  reminds me that our Creator God gave humans, us, the responsibility of stewardship over creation, to oversee its care and continuity.

“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply : fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 NKJV

Smokey didn’t have magical powers, but he had an important message. The Person with the greatest message, with powers beyond superhero, is Jesus Christ. He created the world, keeps it running, and provides forgiveness for our sins and eternal life.