I can announce today that for the last few months I have been about a very important but highly secret task. I have been in the business of restoration. The story begins in Coventry during the second world war. I was not there at the time but our parents were!
Pam's dad was a member of the A.R.P. (air raid precautions) team in Coventry. Due to his advanced first aid skills he found himself to be an official first aider and also to be in charge of the emergency morgue. This was a very busy and gruesome task but one for which he won a medal for his excellent service for king, country and the people of Coventry. He saw many disturbing sights of people young and old maimed or killed by enemy bombing. He had to unearth the dead bodies of close relatives along with many strangers. He also saw some miraculous escapes from injury.
When we bought our house in Oldfield Road in Coventry he recognised the house and recalled visiting there during the blitz. The house had been hit directly by a bomb and was left with only the bay window intact. Underneath an upturned bed buried in the rubble there was an unhurt woman who had been fast asleep when the strike took place. The explosion turned the bed and her upside down and the rubble landed on top of the bed but she was saved and unhurt. The first person that she saw was Pam's dad and the rescue team. I am sure that our modern flat pack constructions would not be so protective!
Much of what he experienced caused his great sorrow for which if it were today he would have had counselling to help him got over the experience but he did not and as such he never really came out of the war. To him it was hell on earth!
The one thing that he did do during that tile was; he made dolls houses and rocking horses out of recycled materials found amongst the rubble. He was an excellent carpenter and so in his spare time after the war made these toys for the local hospitals and orphanages. I have only just realised how well they were produced the dolls house being to a one twelfth scale which is what brings us up to date.
Pam's dad made one of these houses for Jo when she was 2 years old. For the last few months I have painstakingly taken it apart and restored it to something of it's original glory and had the great privilege of presenting it to Olivia (grand daughter) yesterday. I can now announce that my work of restoration was a true labour of love. The finished product is worth the many hours and much larger than expected cost is worth every ounce of effort. The look on her face as she realised that this little house was hers will be with me forever. It made everything worthwhile.
There was much rejoicing in the Hillier and Thatcher household yesterday over one dolls house that had fallen into dis-repair over the years and has now been restored and is once again fit for purpose. The road for this accomplishment came at great cost, blood (literally, Stanley knives are very sharp!), sweat and tears. But it was worth it. The finished article is far from perfect but I do not have the master craftsman's skills. He was a carpenter and I am just a preacher of the gospel with a few chemistry skills attached. Nevertheless I am proud of my humble effort.
This of course reminds us of the gospel and the work that God has undertaken to restore broken and sinful lives. I had to work with materials that had denatured over the years. It is difficult fixing screws into wood that they can no longer bite into but thanks to modern repair materials I was able to painstakingly fill and repair in order to use 95% of the original to accomplish restoration.
Sinful humanity is 100% corrupted and is rotten to the core which is the starting material that God works with. He is about the business of making hopeless cases into perfect friends of His. The great creator of all things takes all that is rotten out and replaces it with perfection but without taking the person away. It is a miracle of grace that my sin has been circumcised (cut away) and has been imputed (replaced) by Christ's perfect sinlessness. My sin was punished on His cross and His perfection was given by grace the moment I first repented and believed.
Christmas is no fairy tale, the coming of Jesus Christ was the first evidence that the work of restoration was being accomplished. The work required much blood, sweat and tears on His behalf during the 33 years that He walked this earth. It was finished as He gave up His Spirit, the sacrifice was complete and ever since then the work of restoration, a true labour of love has been taking place in the hearts of men, women, boys and girls all over the world.
Restoration is only a repentant heart away!