A few days ago, my family was getting ready for dinner when Home for the Holidays began playing.
“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” (lyrics by Al Stillman)
This is a pretty jolly song in and of itself, but this particular instance brought warmth to my heart, and it wasn’t the verse about the homemade pumpkin pie (even though I love a good pie). A small voice was singing the chorus from the dining room. That small voice belongs to our son. This will be his very first Christmas with us. This time last year, my husband and I were spending our Saturdays at adoption training classes, and here we all were, one year later, home for the holidays. I briefly paused to enjoy this gifted moment. As we finished dinner, I continued to think about the phrase “home for the holidays” and a myriad of thoughts and emotions came about that helped me reflect on this season.
- Gratefulness– Ironically, the very first Christmas came about because Jesus gave up His home. He left His perfect Heaven and came to our broken Earth. He traded His omnipresence for confinement in the most fragile form of a human body, and He departed from His Father’s loving, holy presence to dwell with a people marred by sin. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at Christ’s sacrifice to become Emmanuel. As we celebrate the long awaited birth of the Messiah, let us pause and convey our gratefulness to a God who gave up His home and came to us, when we could not get to Him.
- Awareness– Although I rejoice that our son is with us, I can’t help but think of the hundreds of children who are still longing for home. The Christmas season is supposed to be a joyous time, so we don’t typically dwell on things that make us sad, but by ignoring the hurting we might be missing the point of Christmas. Christmas is about our Savior coming for the lost and broken. If we spend more time adjusting the elf on the shelf, than we do caring for the orphan in our neighborhood, what are we really celebrating? It is easy to get so caught up in our own family fun, that we miss opportunities to serve Him and experience true joy. I don’t imagine that whoever squeezed Mary and Joseph into their remaining space regretted it. You will not regret serving together. Rally around the orphaned, welcome the refugee, and comfort those separated from loved ones. This Christmas, seek out those who are longing to be home for the holidays.
- Hope– I will not be home for Christmas. If you are a follower of Christ, you will not truly be home for Christmas either. Christ has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). This place, with Him, is our home. Can you imagine celebrating Christmas in Jesus’ presence? Oh what a joy! For those who have lost loved ones who were followers of Christ, take hope for they are home. For those who are struggling this season, take hope for you are not home yet. Rejoice as you celebrate the birth of your Savior and look with great hope to His return. Hold on to the hope that someday you will truly be home for the holidays!