Coming Home at Christmas
The theme of “coming home” is incredibly prominent in the arts … whether song or film or literature. The concept of “home” resonates deeply within the soul of all of us. As a young man living in the Middle East in the ‘80s, I’ll never forget being told that I was not in my homeland and therefore needed to act appropriately as a foreigner. It struck me deeply that home is a place where you feel at rest, where you feel loved, where you feel you can be the “true you.” We’ve all been hardwired to desire home.
At this time of year, the idea of home can elicit feelings of joy and/or feelings of disappointment that rival no other joys/pains in our lives. Why? Because there is something very primal about home.
In the beginning, the first humans lived at “home” with God in a garden of delight and trust and love. There was love, joy, peace, patience, and a general tranquility to their lives. The enemy of God entered the picture and led Adam and Eve to doubt the goodness of their home. As a result, they left that “home” of trust and love with God as their Father. Indeed, the concept of “home” and family comes from the God of the Universe.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:14-15)
As people made in God’s image, our concept of home is rooted in the very person of God. No matter who we are or where we come from, three things are true about us. First, we all desire to be at home. We want to be fully alive and at rest in our own skin. Second, we’ve experienced, and may even be experiencing in profound ways, that we are not at home. Third, our sense of “home” is most truly and fully found in the God. So, the theme of returning home resonates deeply.
At its core, Christmas is indeed about coming home but not in the ways we often consider. It is about “coming home” to the reality that He is our home – our deepest, truest desire in this life. Jesus is the One for whom we’ve been waiting! Jesus is the fulfillment of all our desires. No earthly family can truly fulfill our desires. No inheritance or financial windfall can satisfy our deep longings for security. No activity can finally provide peace to every square inch of our being. All other desires are shadows of our one true desire … consider the following poem:
Now I can see
that it was You.
It was always You,
behind every song
and every story
that ever captured
It was You.
of my true desire, You.
It was always You.
The One whom my soul loves.
Christmas is an invitation to stop … to stop running … to stop looking … to stop striving after an earthly home and believe that you are already home. We can trust this and believe because Jesus, the One we celebrate at Christmas, made His home among us. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) So, our return “home” is found in Christ.
Thomas Merton commented that “in prayer, we discover what we already have. You start where you are and you deepen what you already have, and you realize that you are already there. We already have everything, but we don’t know it and we don’t experience it. Everything has been given to us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already possess.”
A recipe for a great Christmas (really, a great life) might simply be this kind of prayer:
- Stop looking around you for “home.”
- Remind yourself in quiet prayer that you have everything in Christ.
- Rest in the reality that you have Him, the true desire of your heart.
- Enjoy living from a place of fullness rather than lack.
May this truly be a merry Christmas as you stop and consider that everything you’ve ever wanted is in Christ. Take a few moments right now and stop, remind, rest, and enjoy. Repeat moment by moment.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5