Driving South for Christmas is a very familiar journey. As I set out I don’t need to consider much about the journey, I know the route, the various stopping places, and how long the journey will take. Unless there is a major hold up, a traffic accident or road works the journey is straightforward. As part of the journey involves the motorway there can of course be unforeseen hold ups, some serious enough to get the sat-nav working. As a competent and experienced driver, I don’t really need external help. On this particular occasion, road works resulting in the re-routing of my normal journey make me rely much more on the sat-nav. Consequently my world shrinks down to the size of a small screen, and I am now aided and abetted by a synthesised electronic voice (I call Tog). Using my own mark one brain I quickly scanned my various options and concluded that I would put my trust in Tog – sat-nav!
Normally not a problem, but off the motorway and negotiating dark, wet and windy lanes in part of the countryside I didn’t know changed that. If you know South Hams in Devon you will understand. Pulling up in a very muddy farmyard that was at the end of a very muddy lane in what was now a very muddy car really challenged my sense of trust in Tog! After a couple of other false endings out came the road atlas, nice and shiny, unused since being given as a gift. I needed context, I needed to see where I was in relation to where I wanted to be and the direction I was heading at that moment. I’m one of those blokes who having set out and I’ve forgotten something – even if I have just got to the end of the lane where I live, I don’t like turning back. Sat-nav was not going to beat me even as the sense of being lost in South Hams was signalling that I was – lost! What the atlas was able to do was give me the bigger picture, it has a scale that is missing from sat-nav. Okay there are one or two challenges, the map doesn’t have a back light, there is crease at a critical junction, and I need to stop occasionally to review the journey because I don’t have a Tog telling me I’ve got to retrace my steps.
Eventually the journey does come to an end…do I remember to thank Tog? Not at all.
You see I trusted Tog and all those in the back room to get me to where I was going, okay I’m a bit obstinate and could have retraced my steps on the odd occasion, but I kept going, and okay I did arrive safely but not in time to get to the pub. So, there was a bit of frustration and on the odd occasion Tog was asked, ‘What are you thinking of?’, Tog never replies, but only tells me to retrace my steps.
There is a destination we all come to; this is to stand before God, the road map provided leads us in that direction, but humankind chooses not to bother with this road map because humankind is far too sophisticated to trust in the old ways, our new modern society is proof positive. Even when a new more direct route is provided, dare we mention Jesus’ name, humankind chooses a level of sophistication beyond prior knowledge and therefore puts its trust in the hidden electronic airways and new wave understandings to progress on life’s journey.
I’m sending out Christmas cards, every card I send to someone has a message on it and in it. The message is kinda shorthand celebrating the coming of Jesus. My Christmas message is to point to Jesus, who in the old ‘atlas’ is called Immanuel, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The new atlas calls him Jesus, Christ, Messiah, Saviour of the world. Jesus goes on to say…
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.” John 14:27