“Home for the holidays.” It’s a phrase we are going to be hearing a lot in the next few weeks. The message is that the holidays are a time for going home, and that going home is good. So, let’s think about home for a moment. Picture home.
Now despite all the good things that are going on there, are you perfectly happy at home? Is it just like the Hallmark commercial? Are you free from all anxiety, all sadness, all doubt, all regret there...or do some of those things still linger? Perhaps home is a really difficult place for you right now and you don’t feel much love or security there at all. Either way the question remains: does home fully satisfy you, or do you still have a longing for more?
If you are a Christian you are not immune to this type of longing. Yes, you are always home in one sense because Jesus has made his home in you, in fact he says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28). Nevertheless your experience of finding your home in Jesus is tarnished because of your sin and the evil in the world. Because of that you still have a longing for more. This doesn’t mean you don’t love Jesus enough, it just means that you still crave more of him, and in particular, you want to dwell with him apart from sin and destruction all around you. You want your old self and this broken world gone! It’s like the Christmas parties that I went to as a kid. Amazing food and awesome games, but all the while I can’t enjoy it because I got to wear this itchy sweater.
My exhortation to you today is to embrace the longing in your heart for home. Embrace the idea of going home because, Christians, one day we will be fully and finally home! Home is a real place and we are really going to be there one day. Paul agrees, saying “our citizenship is in heaven,” and Jesus confirms it, saying, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” He’s going to take us home, to our true home where there shall be (no) mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Do not push away the longing for home, don’t settle for good enough, but instead, embrace the longing, because it is evidence that you have a better home that still awaits you.
First, if you are a Christian, be comforted that you have your home in Jesus, (John 14:23 “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”).
Second: Bring others home. We don’t spend our lives looking into the sky for Jesus to come, nor do we have our face to the ground, ignoring our true home. We hold both in hand, and as we do we invite others into both. Come to my house, see the joy we have, the love we have, the peace we have, and the way Jesus helps us with these things when we fail...it all points to our true home, do you want to come there with me?
And yes, our home doesn’t always feel comfortable...in fact life can be very hard as I’m sure everyone here can attest to. Because of that, my last exhortation is: Be comforted that your experience of home, now tainted by sin, will one day be full and perfect...the best is yet to come, embrace the longing! And non-Christian, come home!
And for the times when we’ve run away from home in Jesus, locked others out of our home with Jesus, or simply failed to appreciate our home with Jesus, let’s go before God in confession.