For many years, my husband's brother, Phil Mohney of Lexington, Ky., owned a condominium in Pompano Beach, Fla. Once when we went to visit, they introduced us to Bob and Helen Evans, a genial couple from Ohio.
It was only a few months later that the couple took some friends up in the Evans family plane for what they called "a view of paradise." Evans was an experienced pilot, having served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and later as a commercial pilot. He still enjoyed and took his Learjet up at least twice weekly. Helen had recently decided to learn to fly and had taken two lessons, though she had never soloed nor landed a plane.
They had been in the air less than 20 minutes when Bob had a massive heart attack and died instantly. Though traumatized by the sight of her dead husband's body slumped over the controls, Helen knew it was her responsibility to land the plane. She had the presence of mind enough to call the airport tower and report the situation.
Shortly after, a voice came over her radio from - a pilot who was flying nearby. "Helen, the tower just informed me of your situation. I'll be flying alongside you to give instructions for a gradual descent and a safe landing." I can only imagine her sense of relief at that moment.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that Christmas reminds us we are not alone. God sent one who brings us not only the gifts of salvation and eternal life but also walks alongside us daily and brings us safely home.
In fact, the Holy Spirit, which was sent after Jesus' ascension, is called "paraclete" in Greek, which means "one called alongside to help."
If, in her inexperience or arrogance, Helen Evans had not listened to the pilot, the outcome could have been a crash landing. The same is true of our life's journey if we are unaware of or unwilling to accept the guidance of God.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.