There is something about me that you should know, I love the Carpenters! Say what you will, but hearing Karen Carpenter’s buttery voice just makes every Christmas song better. Especially when she sings,
“Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays
'Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays, you can't beat home, sweet home”
That song, in all its cheesy glory, perfectly captures one of the most wonderful parts of Christmas - the ability to experience home with family. As I get older, this song continues to become even more relevant.
On Sunday, our oldest daughter, Josie, will arrive back home from Auburn Alabama, where she is in her junior year. It has been a very long year since we saw her last. Later in the week, our daughter, Libby, will return home from her freshman year at college in Saint Louis. All of our family will finally be home (at least for a while)!
While they are home, we will watch our favorite Christmas shows together, bake cookies, open presents, and probably head downtown. And, as much as we all love each other, and enjoy being together, we will probably argue and stress each other out just a bit. Then they will leave, again. Nonetheless, we will cherish every single moment we are together in our home.
However, there will also be many people missing from our home this holiday. My mother, who has passed away, will be missing for the sixth painful year. Because of broken family relationships we will not see any of my father’s side of the family, including one of my brothers.
And so, like many of you, Christmas in our home will be a time of great joy spent with family, mixed with an expectation for restoration with family.
I have come to realize, as much as I love the song, that the statement, "O, There's no place like home for the holidays," is only partially true - at least for now. However, a home, even better than the one the Carpenter's sing about, is something that we have been promised.
The Incarnation of the Son of God, over 2000 year ago was part of the unfolding proclamation of our Father mission to bring God's people, to God's place, under God's rule. In other words - HOME!
The birth of Immanuel (which means: "God with us") proclaimed, once again, that the dwelling place of God is with man. His ministry proclaimed not only the wholeness that will result when we are finally home, but also the unbelievable diversity of our brothers and sisters who will dwell there with us. Finally, his death and resurrection proclaimed the certainty of our hope in being brought safely, and finally, home.
Our home is best described in Revelation 21;
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Looking forward to being HOME,