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Home for the Holidays
by Alan Allegra
11/16/2015 / Holidays
Christmas is creeping up on us. By the time you read this, it will either have picked up speed or already descended upon us with a blanket of snow and a pile of fruitcakes, both the kind you regift and the ones you are related to.
One of the sentiments associated with Christmas is a longing for home and loved ones. Songs like "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Please Come Home for Christmas" flood the airwaves and dollar stores, conjuring up memories of times we may only experience through the songwriter's imagination. Unless we've been in a war or left the pines of North Carolina for the lure of the city, going home for Christmas may not have been a big deal.
When I first went to college, hopping the train or Greyhound from Boston to my home in New Jersey was a great joy. However, once I germinated a new life in Boston, I felt the trip up north was now my flight home. That was where my heart now was.
A long time ago, someone left his home to spend Christmas with friends, strangers, and even enemies. Jesus the Son of God left heaven to be born on what we sometimes call the first Christmas. He was barely noticed at first but with growing fame came growing hatred, despite his innocent love for sinners (Romans 5).
At Christmas time, those who observe the season give gifts to those they love. The impetus for this comes from God the Father, who gave his Son to purchase the free gift of salvation for the world he loved. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This gift is freely offered to friend and foe alike.
Those who accept this gift become, believe it or not, sons and daughters of the Living God, with all the rights and privileges of heirs.
One of the benefits of this adoption is a new home that doesn't wear out. Jesus promised, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:2). "[L]ay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:20).
Not only is it unusual that one would voluntarily leave home at Christmas but we who are Christians now have a longing for a Father and family we've never seen. We are strangers and aliens on earth, in a constant battle with enemies, known as the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Apostle Peter, who lost a few battles himself, warned, "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul" (1 Peter 2:11). James, the Lord's brother, summed up, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" (James 4:1).
Jesus gives us hope of home: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:3).
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of this war, and I want to go home for Christmas. Maybe today will be the day we hear, "Please Come Home for Christmas"!
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!
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