Have you ever walked around a really nice neighborhood with beautiful big, old homes? The ones that look picture perfect always draw you in and make you wish you had a place like that. Whenever I’m out for walks I often gaze at these gorgeous houses longing for the big front porch, perfectly manicured lawn, the beautiful furniture, and original hard wood that you know are gracing those floors inside. It’s easy to think that people who live in those homes have it all. Why do you think that Thomas Kinkade sold so many beautiful pictures of the exquisitely lit pieces of art? Everyone longs for that, at least to some extent. We have a place in all of our hearts that long for the perfect home. The funny thing is, that longing is there because the Creator of the universe put it there. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;” We all long for that perfect home, the perfect family, the perfect eternity because God made us that way.
Maybe the term “home” makes your mind flood with memories of good times, loving parents, and blessings galore. But maybe the term “home” doesn’t bring the warm fuzzies. Maybe that word brings back memories of heartache, loneliness, rejection, broken promises and broken relationships.
Christmas can literally be the best time of year for some and the worst for others. Sometimes going home doesn’t look as beautiful as this picture above with the picturesque house, shining brightly in the snow with the carefully laid cobblestone path leading up to the front door.
This week as I was putting labels on our Christmas cards. My heart was so grateful for all for all of the people God has put in our lives, friends, family and ministry partners. Their names brought their faces to my mind and then I would think of their lives and stories and how some of them were facing new and exciting things this year like new jobs, or new babies, new relationships, or fun travels. Others I came across I knew would be experiencing hardship this Christmas season. Loved ones have died, the news of cancer has interrupted life as they knew it, relationships are suffering, or marriages have ended. Home for the holidays may not look the same this year for so many.
My kids bring excitement to our holidays and make our home a delightful place for sure. Our little family of four is fabulous and a constant source of joy right now. But we’ll also go “home” (to my childhood home) for the holidays and awaiting there will be many blessings we look forward to but there are also loved ones who won’t be there making it bittersweet. Each year there seems to be more and more gaps, people once there no longer with us for one reason or another. Life is constantly in an ebb and flow of joys and heartaches. There is brilliance and brokenness.
Whether your “home for the holidays” is looking broken or brilliant this year I pray that you will find the blessing in the midst of it all. I’m praying that you remember that Jesus was born into this world in a smelly, dingy, stable to a couple that wasn’t even married yet when they found out the mother was pregnant. He was born into a broken world to a broken people because He knew that we needed Him. Matthew 1:23 says, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” (which means, God with us.) He wants to be with us. He wants to enter into our less than perfect homes, whether the lights are on and the door is open or the lights seem to be off and the door locked. Would you let Jesus the Christ child in to your home? Even if no one else shows up for your Christmas celebration, He wants to.
**That is one of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings above (in case you hadn’t figured that out). Also our church is doing a wonderful series on “Home” for the Advent series. It’s been wonderful and if you’re interested you can go and listen to the talks here.