“Home for Christmas” is one of the warmest of phrases. This year we are all experiencing a Christmas unique from any other before, a “COVID Christmas.” For some it’s merely an inconvenience, for others it’s a painfully lonely one, even a grieving one. For everyone it’s far from an ideal one.
Ours is definitely not ideal, as once again this year our family is scattered far and wide. Our youngest daughter and her tribe will be celebrating Christmas far from our Colorado home. They’re snug and warm in a 37 foot RV somewhere in the Florida Everglades. Our son will also be in cramped quarters with his family still on a Navy base in Okinawa. They’re all yearning for more space and to be back home where they belong for Christmas.
This week my sister Diane is definitely where she most belongs, because she is “home for Christmas” with Jesus. Her long ordeal with cancer is over, and she has now received the ultimate healing. Jesus promised this to all who put their heartfelt trust in Him. In John 14 Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
By God’s grace Diane has left the land of the dying and has now entered the land of the living! She has entered the land that she has been longing for all her life. C.S. Lewis said: “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have desired anything else.”
Even if heartbreaking things happen at Christmas time, they can never ultimately cancel Christmas. They really only serve to confirm it and remind us of the reason for it! The hardest of happenings and the deepest of griefs only make it more important than ever to sing: “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” For believers, joy is not the absence of suffering but the presence of God!
Let us rejoice in our Savior this Christmas, humbly praying: “Come Lord Jesus” because in you we know, the best is yet to be! As Tim Keller has written: “We long for a perfect world and when we get there we’ll say: ‘I’m home at last! This is my real country! I belong here and this is the land I’ve been looking for all my life. Though I never knew it.’”
From our “temporary home” in Colorado to yours,