Any time my husband and I return from a trip, I invariably find myself saying, “Home again, home again, jiggety-jig!” as we pull into the garage. I know it is silly, but I can no more resist repeating that happy little rhyme than I can resist putting the exclamation point at the end of this sentence! I suppose it began when I sang it as I rocked fussy babies (and later, grandbabies) in the hope that they (we!) would soon find relief in restful sleep. As they grew older; I repeated the latter part of the rhyme when we returned home from a trip as a sort of conclusion . . . our journey was done . . . we were HOME.
What is it about “home” that so grabs our hearts? My family loves the adventure of planning trips of all sorts, but invariably we are all grateful to return home to “sleep in our own beds” and to enjoy the shelter and comforts of being HOME! Truly, there’s no other place like it!
Yet as I write this, I know that HOME is not a safe, comforting place for everyone. The thought of HOME for some is a place to avoid or, for an increasing number of people in this country, is non-existant. I know that because of the business I am in; I also know it because there have been seasons in my life when HOME was a dark and scary place. For many, the IDEA of HOME (or family) is far more appealing than is their actual experience.
Jesus’ first HOME, a dirty barn meant to house farm animals, certainly wasn’t what we would call “the ideal set-up.” His mother’s experience of life, becoming pregnant as a teen out-of-wedlock in her community, could not have been easy. The Bible does not say this, but it may have been a blessing for her to leave HOME to birth her child away from the critical eyes of those she grew up with. I wonder: Was it a blessing to escape the cares of HOME and family by moving to Egypt to be cared for and strengthened by the God she chose to trust?
The Apostle Paul wrote to encourage one of the churches he established in a city called Ephesis. He wrote to remind them of the amazing miracle worked out through God’s Son, that brought Jew and Gentile TOGETHER to share a church HOME in the worship of Almighty God. The Weymouth Translation of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17 is especially touching:
- “I pray that Christ may make His home in your hearts through your faith; so that having your roots deep and your foundations strong, in love, you may become mighty to grasp the idea . . . .”
What a prayer to reflect on; HOME for God’s own is Christ living in our hearts! Christ our comfort; Christ our joy! The challenge we face is to honestly reflect on who or what truly captivates our hearts, Is Christ at home in your heart through your faith or is your heart content in your earthly home? Do you see the difference? If Christ’s presence is your HOME, then He will be your strength and peace even when all the trappings of your earthly home are lost. As we travel through the season of Advent together, I pray that our spiritual roots will grow ever deeper as we hold firmly onto HIM as our Strength, our Love and our Ideal. Christ Jesus, God’s Gift that keeps on giving . . .”There’s no place like HOME!”
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2