This time of year we all experience endings and we hope for new beginnings. We ambitiously make New Years resolutions but do we really believe in second chances?
Perhaps all of us have at least one precious item that we revisit at this time of year. For me it is a book I was given when I was four years old. Each year I try to gather children around on Christmas Eve and I read it to them. This year the reading took place with hot apple cider, safely spread around an outdoor fire.
The story is about a little old fashion (even for 62 years ago) doll named Miss Flora McFlimsey who was once loved by a little girl on Christmas morning but has long since been forgotten in the toy cupboard of the attic. She is very lonely and has only one visitor, Timothy Mouse.
One night Timothy Mouse is very excited because there are so many more crumbs than usual for him to eat and he tells her there is a tree growing right out of the living room floor. “Ah, it must be Christmas Eve” Miss Flora McFlimsey muses. And her inanimate body begins to creak and move. She feels like she would give anything to see one more beautiful Christmas tree.
Miraculously (there are lots of miracles) she makes her way down to the living room just as Santa is arriving. He is muttering under his breath, “Dear, dear, dear, I seem to have lost the doll for Diana in the snow storm on way here.” And then Flora McFlimsey steps out of the shadows and Santa says, “Well now my dear, it seems that I have seen you before. Oh my gosh you will be just the doll for Diana.” And he sets Ms Flora McFlimsey under the Christmas tree next to the doll in the stylish red dress and the bride doll and heads back up the chimney. Immediately the bride doll and doll in the red dress begin to make fun of Flora. After all she is quite shabby and worn and out of style. She feels so ashamed she wants to head back up to the attic where she belongs but all her joints have stiffened again and she cannot move.
Little tears come into eyes when Timothy Mouse appears again and says, “help is coming soon.” What happened next (another miracle) cannot be explained.
The angel comes down from the top of the Christmas tree and her original clothes appear as new. The angel helps her back into her beautiful blue dress with the ermine muff and kisses her on her rosy check and whispered something ever so softly in her ear.
It was something about Christmas and something about love, but only Flora McFlimsey heard her. And then the angel flew back to the top of the Christmas Tree. Suddenly footsteps could be heard on the stairs and shouts of “Merry Christmas!” The children appear and all them head straight for Flora McFlimsey. No one paid very much attention to the other dolls.
But Flora McFlimsey was so happy for once again on a Christmas morning she was hugged and kissed by a little girl.
After this reading of the annual story I began to think about second chances and how they are always possible, often with the help of what seem to be miracles. Not always the overt miracles found in children’s stories, but miracles nonetheless. How often do we not even try to start over because we feel too old, too shabby, or too stiff and set in our ways? In what ways do messengers like Timothy Mouse appear in our lives but alas go unnoticed or unheeded? I want to celebrate the miracle of second chances as we think of relationships we might want to repair (including with ourselves), changes we want to make in our lives and roads we have been afraid to travel. Let’s invite the miracle of love and Christmas to show us the way and begin 2021 with these questions: Where are my angels? What is possible that I have not considered or even dismissed? What miracles might I invoke and co-create? And what helpful companions might be there, ready to help me on my path to change? What doubts do I need to question and set aside?
Let’s all go for it. 2020 has shown us that we had better not wait.