I have spent several hours in the past few days on an airliner and walking through various airports. I am strangely fascinated by both of these experiences. While sitting on an airplane with 120 other passengers, I can’t help but think that each one of them are unique human beings whose lives are separate and so very different from my own. They each occupy a specific geographical space that they call home. They have jobs, families, and responsibilities. Yet, in spite of our differences, we are uniquely bound together by the fact that we are human.
As I sit and wait for my next flight to be announced I watch people come and go with great interest. I watch their faces, hoping to discern the emotions that they are feeling as they hurry from one place to another.
Some faces are filled with the joy and excitement that accompanies the anticipation of being reunited with family and friends at the end of their trip. Some faces reflect the sadness of a goodbye because it is time to leave the family and friends with whom they have just spent time. Or is their sadness because they are hurrying to join a loved one who has just been diagnosed with serious disease, or even traveling to the funeral of a loved one. Along the way I see those whose livelihoods demand that they travel every day. Their faces reflect a kind of boredom with the whole thing, because this kind of travel lost its thrill along time ago.
My destination on this trip was Richmond, Texas, a suburb of Houston. The reason for my trip was to spend the Christmas holidays with my son and his family. My wife and I were among the ones passing through the airports filled with anticipation. Since arriving in Texas, I still find myself out walking early in the morning, but now, instead of walking the meadows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I am walking through an up scale suburb of beautiful, large houses. Again, my mind begins to wander and I think again about the people who occupy these upscale homes. Behind every front door there is a story, and many times the story betrays the beauty of a house in which many would like to live.
When an angel appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem so many years ago, he announced, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Did you hear that? Good news for all the people, for all of those who shared a flight with me, for the hundreds running to and fro through the airports. No matter who they are, no matter what they do, whether their hearts are filled with joy or sorrow or boredom, the good news is for them.
The angel went on to say, “Unto you is born this day, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.” Whether they know it or not, every person on my flights is in need of that Savior because every person on those flights have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. The people surrounding me are not just nameless faces with lives of their own, they have been uniquely and individually created in the image of God, and that unique part of them is going to live forever, either in the presence of God or apart from the presence of God.