Friday December 24
For most of my adult life, I have lived in other people’s houses. As a clergy family, our idea of home has never been a house, because that changes. Our ideas of personalizing a house have never been an option, because there have always been rules and committees, warnings about what to plant, and the challenges of decorating around “Methodist tan.” Our parsonages have ranged from a mobile home to a stunning, enormous 100-year-old house.
The concept of home for my family is probably different than most other families. When our son left for Iraq I told him I was sad that while he was deployed he could not picture a place to which he could come back “home.” I will never forget this words back to me. “ Dan’t worry mom, where you and Daddy are, whatever church he is serving-that will be home. It is impossible to separate the two.” By the time, our granddaughter was three years old, Nana and Papa had live at four different addresses. For our family, houses are of little importance and are never home.
The ancient Hebrews’ history included slavery in Egypt, decades of wandering in the Sinai desert, and exile in Babylon. So often, they were not in their own land. So often, they longed for home. The writer of the Psalm assured these Hebrews that across the years, no matter where they slept, God had loved and preserved them. He was their home.
Home is a refuge, a place to go for love with no limits. We are safe at home. At home, we are without pretense. Home is a place of hope and encouragement. When life beats down on us, when we face one problem after another, hurt after hurt, unrelenting pain or constant fear – home is our refuge. When others seem so unmerciful or when the years pile up with terrifying swiftness – home is our safe harbor. There we can rest under God’s shadow. We can live in the shade of His grace. We can dwell in His peace and protection. God is “home.”
Over all these years, I have begun to believe that God is my home, or as the psalmist put it, “God is my dwelling place.” When Jesus came into this world at Bethlehem, He left his home in heaven. God lived as a man to show us the way to go home. He came to insure us an eternal dwelling place that would be our refuge forever. His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection where all about giving us this dwelling place. Whenever we are with God, now or in eternity, we are home. It is impossible to separate the two.
Reflection – Meditate on the times when God has been your dwelling place as you have journeyed through life.