THE RED CAR
When I was a little boy I had a beautiful shiny red sports car that I loved and played with until it got broken. It's what happens with toys but I was extremely saddened and my Mam said that maybe Santy would be able to fix it. So I left it on the windowsill when I was going to bed one night and in the morning it was gone. And it remained gone. Presumably Santy came and took it.
Christmas night came and I was in bed, unable to sleep with excitement but I kept my face my face turned to the wall in case Santy would disappear if I looked at him. I was also freezing cold because the blankets had fallen off the bed but I didn't dare move to get them.
The window opened. That's how he got in. I heard him in the room and was so pleased when he picked the bedclothes off the floor to cover me. That felt really special and comfortable. He was gone then. Silence. And Mam came in to tell us we could get up.
Our presents were in brown paper bags and to my astonishment there was my shiny red sports car in perfect condition. The very same car! I was beside myself with pleasure. Santy was so amazing!
About ten years ago Mam presented me with a present. It might have been around Christmas time and when I opened it up there was a beautiful red shiny sports car. I was struggling at the time and it became for me a symbol of hope, one of my favourite symbols of Advent.
In my adult life I don't have Santa to fix my toys and anyway it's not toys that need mending now. But I have God who takes the broken, damaged aspects of my life. I give them to him so that He can restore them in some way and by restoring make it easier for me to make the journey that I have to make in this life. The restoration doesn't often fit in to a neat space like Advent but it does come eventually.
When I moved to Galway last year the red car came with me and it remained in tact on a sideboard until my lovely nieces took a shine to it. Now every time they come into my house the red car is one of the first things they make for. It gives them great pleasure and in turn gives me great pleasure watching them.
In the process of play the car has become somewhat damaged - a door warped, a wheel fallen off - and I'm happy with the state it's in because love has somehow brought it to that state. It also strikes me that I'm not as bothered either with the damaged, scratched or broken aspects of myself. I can live with them and even be happy with them as long as there is love and as long as I'm able to continue the journey mapped out for me by God.
winding ways will be straightened
and rough roads made smooth.
so that God's people can walk in safety under the glory of God.
(Luke 3 & Baruch 5)