We’ve been living in our own Christmas card lately. Everything has been jewelled in frost and snow. The frost clinging to every gate, stem, fence and seed head as if it had been sprayed on. With added glitter. Every roof and spire is softly coated, the ploughed earth bright white instead of rich dark, the footpaths rock hard and cleansed with ice. We drive carefully along slippery, glistening lanes under boughs weighed down with crystalline decorations.
It looked like a magical wonderland just right for dreaming of Christmas.
Then, in one shocking second it all looks very different.
As we drive into town a child decides to take a risk to show off to his mate. Decides to dash out in front of the car and beat it to the other side, not understanding that the consequences of him losing are irreversible and ruins lives.
My daughter, who’s not been driving long, hit the brakes. The contents of the back of the car catapulted to the front, our seatbelts wrenched our chests, the tyres screeched.
Thank goodness that despite our happy chatter about the glory of the frosty scene she was alert. Thank goodness that bit of road was not icy. Thank goodness there was no one behind to shunt us into the daredevil. A very nearly dead daredevil. How we didn’t hit him I do not know.
The car stopped dead. The child stood clinging to the barrier at the side of the road. The look on his face told that he knew he’d had an encounter with death not Santa in his imagination. We had all looked upon a very different Christmas in that split second, to the one we’d been admiring before.
We drove on with many ‘What if’ s whizzing through our heads.
More than presents, more than turkey and stuffing, more than easy travel and kind weather, I’m just wishing for a safe and happy Christmas for one and all!