The little lad was sitting in Mother's chair watching the clock. He knew when the hands said six and twelve, the sun would begin coming up. Mother would be up and the day would start.

Then he stared and blinked and stared again. The hands of the clock were stuck, they weren't moving at all. Time was not happening. Time had stopped. Whatever happens when time stops, he wondered.

Perhaps the sun would never come up, not ever again. Perhaps if time stopped in the night, there would never be another day, not ever. The lad shuddered. He heard the Train Driver coming up the pathway and jumped down and ran through the open door to meet him.

"Driver," whispered the little lad, looking into the Driver's face, "can you help, please?" And a tear trickled off as the Driver picked him up.

"Whatever’s wrong?" asked the Driver, concerned at his teary face.

"The clock stopped and time isn't any more," he gulped, "and the sun won't come up ever again."

The Driver cuddled him under his chin. "No, my little lad, no," he soothed. "If all the clocks in the world stopped, time wouldn’t."

"H-how d-do you know?" sniffled the little lad, wiping his eyes on the Driver's collar. "Clocks tell time."

"I know because I see time working," answered the Driver.

"You -- you see time?" asked the lad. He knew time happened but he had never actually seen it.

"Yes, my lad," said the Driver. "I see it happening all around me when I am driving trains. Everything runs to time, you know."

"Do you? Does it?" queried the lad looking earnestly into his face. "If time is all around you, can you tell the time by it?" he asked seriously.

"Let me tell you how I see time working," smiled the Driver, settling the lad into the curve of his arm. "The great clock, which began when the world began, is still ticking. Time does not depend on Mother's clock. God made time and scattered it across the sky. He said 'let there be lights in the vault of the heavens to separate day from night, and let them serve as signs both for festivals and for seasons and years.'"

"Do you mean," whispered the lad, "the sky is a time?"

"Yes it is. The sun and the moon tell the times and seasons. And the stars all rise and set exactly on time. You can set your clock by them if you know their rhythm," explained the Driver. "If God wanted to alter time, He would need to alter the whole sky. He even announced Christmas from the sky with a star, 'Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.' The star told them Christmas had come." (Matthew 2:7)

"Truly?" queried the lad.

"Truly, and 'when the time was fully come, God sent his Son,'" smiled the Driver. (Galatians 4:4)

The little lad sighed a great relief. The world hadn't stopped, time was still happening in the sky.

"Shall we make Mother a cup of tea now? She will like one when she gets up," said the Train Driver, "will you help me to make it for her?"

Very comforted by the Driver, he smiled as the morning sun peeped through the window and they made tea for Mother -- right on time.

Elizabeth Price