Are you going home for Christmas?
It is, perhaps, a time of year when we most think about home. Many of us think back to a particular place, a place where we were given gifts of peace and compassion, grace and love. We think of those people, or perhaps one person in particular, who gave those gifts to us. Those who were not given such gifts had at least, perhaps, the dream of such a home.
We try, in our own ways, to create that sort of a home in our adult lives, yet it is difficult sometimes to believe that such a home can exist in this world, this world that makes it hard to believe in much of anything at times.
In every home, however, no matter how full of beauty and love, there is something missing. Something small but crucial. Perhaps we can’t fully describe what that something is, but we search for it and long for it our entire lives. It is something that gives us a sad and lost feeling, something that makes us feel a bit homeless wherever we happen to be.
This small but crucial missing piece is what the author of Hebrews talks about at the end of that great chapter detailing those who lived by faith. After naming some of the greatest heroes and heroines of our faith, the author writes,
These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
And so home is, after all, only where Christ is. Home is at the manger where even the oxen kneel at midnight. Home is at the foot of the cross and at the door to the empty tomb. Home is the place we will find when we finally know even as we are fully known.
I believe that…the home we long for and belong to is finally where Christ is. I believe that home is Christ’s kingdom, which exists both within us and among us as we wend our prodigal ways through the world in search of it. ~ Frederick Buechner
Are you going home for Christmas?
We are people walking in darkness.
Our souls are dark with selfishness and pride. We are blinded by our own interests so that we cannot truly see anyone else, so that we cannot see God. We seek and chase after happiness, darkened in our false understanding that we can find anything good outside of Jehovah.
We dwell in a land of deep darkness.
We live in a world where children are born needing new hearts, where babies emerge into poverty and hunger. We ache with the knowledge that storms destroy, that hurt people wound, that cancer kills.
We hang our heads to the ground in shame and weep in this darkness brought about by our own turning away from God. Where is hope?
Lift up your head, world that is heavy with darkness. Look up and see a great light.
Rise up from the ground, you who are burdened with shame. On you a light has shone.
A light has dawned. A great light has emerged out of the darkness. His name is Christ the Lord. He is Savior and Messiah. He is Mighty God and Prince of Peace. He brings peace to this world and peace to our souls. He is Ruler and King, He is Servant and Love.
We no longer must dwell in darkness but can run strong in the light.
Unto us a son is born, unto us a child is given.
The light has come and we are free. Free from darkness, free to love.
Where is hope? Hope is here.
For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Christ is here.
Christ has come!
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Art credit: Fifth and last photos by Kirk Sewell Photography.