Bible Reading: Luke 2:1-24
Sometimes life can get confusing…even for kids. At those times they need to be reminded that God is in control. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that He cannot handle.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I enjoy flying a lot. I’ve also flown in several kinds of aircraft…single and twin-engine planes, an open-cockpit plane like Snoopy flies, a fixed wing glider, a hot air balloon, the Bud One Airship (blimp), big commercial jet airliners, and a UFO (psyche…not really).
I’ve landed all over the world…many places in the U.S., Ecuador, Guatemala, Belize, Bahamas, Ireland, England, France, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, Israel, and others. But there is one place that I have probably landed and taken off from more than anywhere else…Atlanta, Georgia. It seems like no matter where I am going…you’ve got to go through the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to get there. In fact, someone once told me that to get to Heaven you have to go through Atlanta.
Since 1998, ATL has been the busiest airport in the world. There are over 275,000 passengers daily. That means that they have over 104 million passengers in one year. Stop and think about this…there are about 20,160,000 people who live in Florida and 742,000 people who live in Alaska. That means that if all of the people who live in Florida and Alaska put together flew through Atlanta 5 times…it would just about equal how many people actually fly through there in one year.
There are 5 runways. Three are 9,000 feet long (that is the length of 30 football fields put end to end), one is 9,999 feet long, and the longest is 12,390 feet long (that’s over 41 football fields). Planes take off on those runways headed for 150 destinations in the U.S. and 50 destinations in other countries…with 2,700 arrivals and departures each day. On average, there are 120 planes in the air around the airport per hour.
So, I’ve got a question: How do they keep from crashing into each other? All of those planes landing and taking off. That’s crazy. And on top of that…every one of those planes had to land or take off from somewhere else.
The answer: Air Traffic Controllers. Air Traffic Controllers are stationed all over the world at airport Control Towers and Control Centers. They have flight plans for almost every plane that is in the air. They know where they take off from and where they are going to land. They know how fast they are flying, how high they are flying, and what direction they are flying. They keep a close eye on every plane. There are 87,000 flights per day just in the U.S. and Air Traffic Controllers guide them safely from one place to the next. There are approximately 15,000 Air Traffic Controllers on the job every day in the U.S., with as many as 50 or more at a large airport and hundreds at a Control Center. They are in constant communication by radio with every single airplane…keeping then in the air, keeping them from crashing, and getting them safely to their destination.
You can ask an Air Traffic Controller about any one airplane in the sky and they will be able to tell you what size plane it is and how many passengers are on it. In fact, before the passengers ever even get on the plane…the Air Traffic Controller can tell you when the plane will take off and when it will land. That’s pretty amazing stuff. To think that someone could know about all of those planes. To realize that they know before they take off…when and where they are going to land. Pretty amazing.
Let me tell you something even more amazing. Remember the story we tell at Christmas time about the birth of Jesus? Remember where He was born? That’s right, Bethlehem. Now, here is the strange thing…Bethlehem was not where his parents, Joseph and Mary, lived. They lived in Nazareth…about 80 miles away. And if they wanted to go to Bethlehem…they couldn’t just catch a plane. No, they had to walk or maybe ride a donkey…for 80 miles…across wilderness…through mountains. Can you imagine your Mom and Dad making a trip 80 miles away on a donkey? Maybe not.
Anyway, here is the amazing part. Long before Jesus was ever born, God planned for Him to be born in Bethlehem. In fact, He told the prophet Micah (5:2) to announce that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah lived 700 years before Jesus was born…700 years! And now, after 700 years…it was time for Jesus to be born. Problem…Joseph and Mary did not live in Bethlehem and it was 80 miles away! Did I mention wilderness and mountains? Did I mention that Mary was pregnant? Did I mention riding on a donkey? I don’t’ think they would make a trip to Bethlehem just to go to the mall. It would take something very, very important, to get then to make that trip.
And God knew that…and God was the greatest Air Traffic Controller of all time. You see, God scheduled a flight to get them there. God worked in the heart of the ruler of Rome, Caesar Augustus, without him even knowing it. He urged him to take a census (that’s a head count) of all of the people who lived in his kingdom. In order to do that…every man had to return to his hometown, to the town where he had been born…and report in. Just guess where Joseph had been born. You got it…Bethlehem. So now, he took his wife Mary…who was pregnant…and made a trip to Bethlehem…and while they were there she gave birth to a baby…the baby Jesus. Dude…that is just way too cool. Tell me that story, again.
So sometimes…your life may feel like it is out of control. No flight plan. Don’t know how you got where you are. Don’t know where you are going. It’s not unusual. At times we can all get a little confused. It’s a crazy world we live in. But at those times, it is important to remember that God is your Air Traffic Controller. If He could know 700 years ahead of time where Jesus was going to be born, and if He can use the leader of the most powerful nation in the world to get Joseph and Mary there…then He knows exactly what is going on in your life…everything. He knows how to keep your plane in the air. He knows how to keep you from crashing. He knows how to get you safely to your destination. Trust Him. Be in communication with Him. Pray. He’s waiting to hear from you. He’s got a plan…for your flight.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,