That word sitting up there all by itself stirs something in me that is hard to grasp. More than words to be described, it’s a feeling to embrace - this home.
Several months ago I started several pages in my journal with bold letters at the top to add more or less later on of further ideas on the topic. What does the page left with the least ink say?
What is home to me? Is it biblical? Is it meeting a certain person’s eyes? Is it that several level house on the corner with sparkling Christmas lights?
Home is a hundred places and a thousand faces to me. There is a little bit of home for me found in my comfy bunk in my favorite cabin and there is a little bit of home I still visit in my mind from time to time in the town that I detested. There is a little bit of home in the kudzu lined roads in Mississippi and the boring landscape of Iowa. There is a whole lot of home in my favorite street in this town of mine. The shore of Lake Victoria greeting us with a surprising breeze and the intense sun beating down on our faces - that was a little bit of home.
That still doesn’t answer my question. What is home to me? I suppose home to me is every puzzle piece that is a part of my life story, even the pieces it hurts to revisit like the memories of rejection and funerals.
The pieces that comfort me when I have an aching heart, the places I check into mentally if I can’t be there physically.
All of these places and faces - everything that is home to me - have made me who I am. Movie nights with my family in Illinois and those sleepovers in Mississippi with my best friend talking about boys until we fell asleep. Sitting on our Victorian house’s front porch with my Bible after a long day being away from home or curled up in a lawn chair on the front patio at our house in that subdivision reading my favorite book series with a cup of coffee. Maybe it's not a specific place, but it's the feeling of home that met me in those places. It’s all part of my story.
No one has asked me specifically where my hometown, except Facebook of course. The funny thing about Facebook? They will only let you name one hometown. Hence, I don’t have one on my profile. Somewhere down the road when someone does ask me, I’ll name Clay town. When I answer, though, my head will be spinning with thoughts of small town Iowa and rural Mississippi. The pieces that not just anyone wants to hear about.
With Christmas just days away, there is a lot of buzz on whether this family or that other family will be ‘home’ for Christmas or not. It’s a wonderful conversation starter, but it’s a burdening question. Biblically, will you be home for Christmas?
“Jesus answered him, 'If anyone loves me, he will keep My word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.'” -John 14:23
With much excitement, I rode home on December 1st from Illinois knowing that I would be home for the rest of the month in my beloved Kansas. Somehow, though, it’s been hard to get excited for Christmas. I will be ‘home’, but something seems off. Something is missing. Maybe it’s because I really miss my friends. Maybe it’s because I need to kneel beside the King babe lying underneath the care of His heavenly Father, virgin Mother, and forgiving earthly Father - and that shakes a person’s pride in a big way. It’s quite possibly both. On earth, the Lord gives us tastes of home when you look in someone’s eyes or when you are invited into someone’s home like they really desire you to be there. You can’t deny, though, that at the end of the day - especially when loneliness creeps in - you realize that it doesn’t ultimately matter where you are, even if that place brings comfort to you. You still desire something else & it bites at you like an annoying mosquito until you feel like you can catch it with your own two hands.
We were not originally made for all this mess. We weren’t going to have broken homes or families or lost hope. Adam and Eve ruined that one for us due to the serpent’s lies that so often make it into our own hearts. Ever since the fall, there is a lot of emptiness. I like to fill mine with silly temporary things. I hide in my loneliness and prefer to stay there rather than to risk getting hurt again. There is a desire for so much more and the fact that we can’t fully grasp all of this mess and glory braided together in the Redeemer’s name before we reach His kingdom drives us mad. We take our eyes off Jesus and we lose hope.
We can’t afford a lot of things this December, friends - but we do not have any room to waste our money on satan’s lies when we can’t afford to miss what Jesus has for us as we enter this new year. We’re strangers here and we need a Savior, a Best Friend, to come in and sweep us off our feet.
I recently dug out Tenth Avenue North’s album ‘The Struggle’ from my c.d. collection. It is so good for my soul. During Grandpa’s cancer battle I would sing these anthems on a daily basis. It’s amazing how the lyrics still apply to me this time around, but this time it’s with a few different battles.
As I was flipping through the pages of my Bible this evening in search of something to slow my heart, I skimmed several chapters in the Old Testament. What I noticed and was reminded of in that short amount of time was that whenever God talks about bring His people into the promised land - their home - it often follows with, "I will be their God and they shall be my people."
I found it. That, friends, it wherever home is. Yes, it's Kansas, family, the places you can be yourself, and wherever your WiFi connects automatically - but our real home in Christ is with the Father. For now, we're strangers in this sinful, lonely land, but we have the companion of the One that knows about that very sin and covered it all with His own blood so that we all could make it home to Him.
“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I have to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” -Ezekiel 36:24-28
You better know that this Christmas - I'll be home. THAT is something to get excited about.
I got treasure up in heaven; I got dirt all over me,