The land lay hushed and still beneath the star studded sky.
Holding its breath.
Looking down from the plane, Kerry could see the lights of Auckland fading away. Would hope fade too?
“The Windy City’s going to give us a smooth landing to celebrate Christmas Eve.” The grey-haired lady sitting beside her turned towards Kerry. She was smiling.
“I guess so,” Kerry managed. To her embarrassment, tears filled her eyes, threatening to fall.
“Are you all right?” the lady’s smile slid into genuine concern. She slotted her magazine into the seat pocket in front of her. “Flying can be scary.”
“Oh no, it’s not that,” Kerry said. Words came tumbling out before she could stop them. “I arranged time off work, was going home to celebrate Christmas, but Mum rang today. Dad’s had a serious car accident – he’s in surgery now. He … mightn’t make it.”
“That’s an awful shock. Is it alright if I pray for you?”
As a teenager, Kerry remembered her Dad sharing her parents’ new-found faith. ‘Jesus died for our sins and rose again. So if we’re sorry for our wrongdoing, and accept Jesus as Saviour, God forgives us. We’ll have everlasting life in heaven,’ he’d said. But Kerry just laughed.
She felt ashamed of that now.
“Yes, please pray,” she said. “I’m Kerry, by the way.”
“And I’m Andrea.” Bowing her head, she began: “Father in Heaven, you know Kerry by name. You know the pain she is feeling for her Dad. I think of her Mum too. You love them Lord. I pray for healing and comfort in Jesus’ name.”
Pure love and peace flowed over Kerry. Deep within a spark of faith ignited. God was real, and was waiting for her.
Lost in thought, time disappeared for her until the plane touched down with a gentle jolt and rumbled to a terminal gate.
“Goodbye, Kerry. God bless you,” Andrea said, unclipping her seat belt.
“Bye, Andrea. And thanks so much.”
Excited passengers began scrambling for belongings in overhead lockers and shuffling down the aisle. Kerry followed the crowd into the terminal, waiting impatiently for her case at the carrousel.
Her mobile warbled a call.
Kerry snatched it up. “Hello. Mum, is Dad …?” Her unfinished question hovered in fear.
“Kerry,” her Mum’s voice trembled. “Dad’s come through surgery okay.”
“Oh, Mum!” Kerry turned to find Andrea but she had gone.
Christmas morning saw Kerry hurrying through the hospital atrium. Nearby, she saw a face she recognised.
“Andrea!” she called. “What a coincidence.”
“Kerry? Yes, amazing timing,” Andrea agreed. “How are things?”
“Dad’s resting and is ‘comfortable’ as the doctors say.”
“Praise God,” Andrea said. “I have good news too. My daughter had a baby boy early this morning.”
“A Christmas baby. How special!” Kerry paused a moment. “During your prayer yesterday, God touched my heart.”
Kerry’s eyes shone. “I accepted Jesus today. It’s bringing joy to our family during a difficult time.”
Andrea smiled. “It’s God’s eternal Christmas gift for you.”