Friday, December 16, 2011

When Will We Be Home?

I lived in the same house my whole life until I left for college. In the three years since then, I have lived in five different places. I still consider the house I grew up in, the one I will return to on Monday for a couple short weeks, to be my home. Yet I also call this house I'm sitting in now home. It seems strange how normal that is to me now, though for the last couple days I have not felt at home.

What defines home for you? Is it the house itself? Perhaps it's the items that you recognize - your bed, the kitchen table, the ugly couch in the living room. Maybe it's the people; after all, home is where the heart is right? That would explain my comfort in calling two places home. My family is in Richmond, while my closest friends are here in Boone. In fact, that even clears up why I have felt like I am in a foreign place all day. Some of the people whom I love most have left town, as the semester has finally finished and Christmas break is here.

Am I sad that they are gone? Of course. Even the knowledge that we will be together again in a month doesn't replace the fact that right now I am apart from those who mean the most to me. When I leave Richmond to return to school in January, it will be the same. Although my family and I will not be separated for an unusually long time, there is a certain emptiness that accompanies that separation.

Doesn't this completely describe our lives here on Earth? Our God, our Father, our Love is in heaven. And while He is present with us on Earth in the Spirit, this is not our home. John Ortberg discusses this thoroughly in his book Faith and Doubt, in what is easily one of the best chapters I have ever read. Just a couple quick thoughts he shares:

"Maybe home is where God is. And maybe it will be awhile before we feel at home."

"We long for home because we know we are not fully there yet."

These made me consider Christmas in a new light. When Jesus came to Earth, He introduced something that had not existed here since the beginning of time - perfection. I imagine that to be with Christ while he was on the earth would not have been unlike being with someone you love in a place you would not normally call home. The world was still full of sin, and man was still unable to stand perfect before God as in the beginning. But even though our nature remained sinful, Jesus came to redeem us. And He came to us so that we would later be able to come to the Father.

We may have to wait a while before we are with God, but as I have said before, it should be something we anticipate eagerly. As we look forward to Christmas, not only can we celebrate Christ's coming but we can await the day when we are home. Any pain, disappointment, sadness, or despair that we feel in this world should serve only as a reminder that one day we will no longer be away from home.

No more disconnection
Show me revelation
And shine a light onto the road
Though I know salvation
There is separation
And my heart it cries for home
~ Paul Colman

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