Never taken for a ride

| Liz Kelly | December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments


When I was about 10, my father — bless his generous heart — bought me something I had wanted my entire young life: a Pinto, a particular breed of horse with large patches of white, black and brown. This Pinto was named Windy. We spotted her ad in the paper that spring; she was in foal, trained to ride and drive. This last bit was important because the horse who usually pulled our sleigh had died. Windy was a bargain with a foal to boot. Two horses for the price of one. Dad got on the phone and bought her “sight unseen.”

And she didn’t disappoint. When the trailer arrived to deliver her and they led her down the ramp, she tossed her head and pawed her hoof, lively and curious, snorting with the new scents of her new home. She was beautiful. A month or so later, she delivered a handsome foal that my father and I would train. She had a comfortable gait and was a delight to ride. I loved that horse.

Then winter came, late December, a nice fluffy foot of snow. Perfect conditions for a nighttime jaunt through the countryside in our sleigh.

It was red, every bit as much of a Kris Kringle-looking operation as you might imagine. My sister Anne volunteered to sit in the sleigh and hold the reins as we fastened the harness and got Windy strapped in. The horse took the harness without the slightest problem and my little heart raced with excitement. I could barely stand the wait until we were trotting through the snowy countryside, looking like something out of a Christmas card.

But then, the sleigh bumped Windy’s rump. Now, a horse that was actually trained to drive would have thought very little of this contact. But Windy, it turns out, was probably not as well-trained as advertised.

She bolted.

I’ll never forget the cries of my sister as she and Windy and that red sleigh took off at breakneck speed into the starry night.

To Windy, there was a wild snarling beast about to consume her from behind and she was determined to outrun it. Down our long driveway she went, galloping full speed. Across the large field that sat in front of our country house, she made a huge loop, and coming back toward the barn, my sister made a daring decision and bailed out into a snowdrift, thankfully unharmed.

On Windy went, now passenger-less, with only the sleigh following her no matter how fast she ran. She took off down a utility road along the edge of our property and disappeared behind the heavy groves of our back pasture.

We took off after her.

Maybe half a mile or so later, we found the sleigh, overturned, bent, and battered. Windy had tried to take a sharp corner in order to lose her “predator,” and it must have tipped the whole operation on its side. Beyond the sleigh a hundred feet or so was poor Windy, huffing and puffing, up to her shoulder in snow, bleeding from a few minor cuts, straps and harness dangling from her still-trembling body.

Lesson learned.

After the angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, “good news of great joy for all the people,” they raced through the night to Bethlehem. They trusted that they were not being taken for a ride.

Indeed, the Good News is not an exaggeration meant to get us to buy into something false. Though it may seem too good to be true, that little babe in Bethlehem, he keeps his promises. Do you know what they are? Mercy for those who fear him, rescue from the hands of our enemies, the light of revelation. He is the dawn from on high, a light to those in darkness, the Prince of Peace, our Savior King.

Jesus, your kingdom will never end, your word will never fail, nothing is impossible for you. Your promises are true.

Kelly is the author of seven books, including the award-winning “Jesus Approaches ”(2017) and the “Your Heart, His Home Prayer Companion” (2019). Visit her website at

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Category: Your Heart His Home