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Longing for Home this Christmas?

Christina FoxChristian Life

Walk through any store, restaurant, or other business establishment this time of year and you’ll hear songs like, "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" and "(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays." Thoughts of home are on everyone’s mind as they plan and prepare to be with family, purchase gifts for loved ones, and gussy up their homes for guests this Christmas.

But for some, home doesn’t conjure up warm thoughts of hot chocolate by the fire and presents under the tree. Maybe home is not a place of peace and comfort. Maybe they can’t go see their loved ones this year. Maybe they’ve lost their loved ones. Or maybe they’ve never found a place to call home.

Longing for Home

We all have a desire for a place to call home. We all search for home. And not just for the holidays. We are always seeking a place to belong, a place to rest, a place of refuge and safety. Some of us will spend our entire lives searching for home and often in all the wrong places. Some will think they have found it, only to have it snatched out from underneath them. For others, home will always be elusive and seem just out of reach.

The truth is, we’ve all been searching for home ever since our first parents, Adam and Eve, were evicted from their first home, the garden of Eden. It’s that first home that we all long for deep inside. In the garden, Adam and Eve knew perfect peace. They felt complete and whole. They were safe and cared for. They were fully known and loved. There was no arguing or fighting. They had all they needed. Not only that, but they were in complete union with their Maker, God. There were no barriers between them and God. It was paradise in every sense of the word. And it was home.

After they fell into sin, God promised that He would one day send a Rescuer, one who would redeem them and save them from sin. Adam and Eve took this promise with them as they settled in a world far different from the home they were used to. Sin quickly took over and ran rampant over the earth. Home became a place of contention, jealousy, bitterness, and strife. This is the reality of home we are all born into.

When Home Came to Us

This time of year, Christians sing the song, "O Come, O Come Immanuel." When the angel came to Joseph in a dream to tell him about Mary’s child, he said, "’She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ’Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)" (Matt. 1:21–23).

The name Immanuel is significant. It speaks volumes. In the Old Testament, God’s presence was found only in the temple. The name Immanuel means that God’s presence was on the move. He came to earth and did the unthinkable—He took on flesh and became man. Colossians 1 tells us more about this Immanuel: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. . . . For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (vv. 15, 19–20).

Immanuel came to make His dwelling or home among us. But that wasn’t His final goal. He came with a purpose. Paul Tripp puts it this way:

The whole redemptive story marches toward Immanuel, the Redeemer who would destroy sin’s dominion in our hearts by making our hearts the place where he, in his power, wisdom, and glory, would dwell. 1

As Jesus said to the disciples, "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" (John 14:23).

In Christ, we find our home. In Christ, we find our belonging, rest, and place of safety.

  1. Belonging and identity
    Home symbolizes a place where we come from, where we belong, and our identity. When we are in Christ, we are given a new identity and a new name. We are new creations ( 2 Cor. 5:17). We are no longer orphans but adopted children of God (Rom. 8:15). We are heirs of the kingdom (1 Peter 1:3–4).
  2. Our rest
    When people think about home, they often think about going home after a long day at work to rest. In Christ, we find our rest: Rest from striving to do life on our own, rest from striving to earn salvation, and rest from our burdens (Heb. 4, Matt. 11:28).
  3. Our safety and security
    Homes are often a place of safety and security, protecting us from the elements and dangers outside. In Christ, we find our ultimate place of safety. Because Jesus has conquered sin and death, there is nothing that can ever separate us from Him. Not even death itself can harm us (Rom. 8:31–39). In Christ, we also find our security. As adopted children of the Father, He knows and provides all that we need (Matt. 6:25–34).

If you are missing or longing for home this Christmas, remember that no matter where you are, in Christ you have found your home. It is in Christ where we find the belonging, rest, and safety that we have always searched for. Christ, our Immanuel, has provided the way back home to God. He has reversed what happened in the garden. We have been reunited with our Father and one day, we will live forever in a new home, created for us by God.

1Tripp, Paul. Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy. (Chicago: Crossway, 2008) p. 103.

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