Although most people visit friends and family during the holidays, some people like to get away from it all!
The travel advertisements that bombard our lives every day of exotic hotels with pampering spa services, palm trees rustling in the wind on warm tropical beaches, and cruise ships sailing through the calm sea waters, seem to make traveling so enticing. But those visions are all a blur if you are a business traveler and jumping from airport to airport, never smelling the salty air or feeling the warm Caribbean breezes, which was my life just a few years ago.
A job I held for many years required me to do a lot of traveling. I have never considered air travel to be as pleasurable as the airline commercials try to suggest, but after months of consecutive flying, I got accustomed to repeated flight delays, stale pretzels, and cramped quarters with other people who were enjoying the trials of travel just as much as I was. But on one particular trip God shared his peace with me, and as always, I was forced to recognize once again that God has a specific reason for putting us into circumstances that may not seem enjoyable.
After I had flown often enough to lose the white knuckles and shortness of breath every time we took off, landed or had even the slightest turbulence, I began to enjoy the brief time I spent on the plane. God tugged at my heart each time I got on a plane to spend time with Him and I began carrying my bible with me on each trip. It allowed me to have some very rare opportunities for meaningful quiet time, all alone, just me and God (and as an employee, wife, and mother of three, any quiet time at all was a pure miracle!)
There is something very special about hovering above the clouds of cotton with the blinding sunshine, the warmth of its’ closeness on your face, and blue skies with subtle pink and yellow highlights, that makes you feel so close to God and near His heavens. It is easy to imagine how beautiful and peaceful heaven must be, as you soar above the breathtaking clouds and seem physically closer to the God who created everything than you could ever feel on the ground.
But on some flights, as soon as the plane dipped beneath the clouds to make its’ descent, I realized that the day wasnt as I had thought at all. It was dreary, clouds were black and not white, it was raining and gloomy. I instantly felt saddened, and, oh how I wanted to leap back up where nature’s beauty had brought joy into my heart, where I was close to the heavens, and where peace was so easily obtained.
That’s when God spoke to my heart. He reminded me that I should always feel close to Him, and bask in the warmth of His peace every day. We don’t need to be 30,000 feet in the air to feel near to His presence. He is as close as we want him to be, and as close as we will allow Him to be, every second of every day.
When we are faced with trials, God wants us to seek his guidance and rise above the problems through his strength, grace and mercy so that we can bask in the warmth of His peacefulness. Just as I wanted to steer the plane back up into the clouds to the peacefulness of the skies, God desires for us to steer our hearts towards him and seek the warmth of His face upon ours.
During this Christmas season, instead of getting bogged down with problems, stresses, work deadlines, end of year reports, cooking and gifts to buy, take time to remember that Jesus is standing by your side everywhere you go – in the mall, at the grocery store, at a holiday gathering, and in your kitchen.
When you begin to feel burdened by the busyness of the season, allow yourself to imagine that you are soaring high above the clouds, basking in His warmth, and feeling His love on your heart.
I was not able to steer the plane back into the skies when I wanted to return to the visual peacefulness, but we can steer our hearts back to God anytime we choose, and experience His heavenly peace right here on earth. Christmas is a special time of year, and His peace is only a prayer away.