Thursday, December 24, 2015
That makes twenty-three Christmases I've been through. That's a lot of holidays. A lot of "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night." A lot of packages. A lot of readings of Luke chapter two.
And I am home for Christmas. But not really. Allow me to explain...
Once upon a time, all of us were little. And once upon a time, all of us wanted nothing more than to grow up. To be on our own. To forge our own path into the wild, beckoning, rosy world.
Then we got there. And of a sudden it wasn't so rosy any more.
Everyone tells you of the bills to pay, the job to hold down, the lack of "freedom." But those are the easy parts of growing up. Bills can be earned. Jobs can be fulfilling. Freedom is a relative thing.
Nobody told eight- or ten- or thirteen-year-old you of the pain you'd encounter. Of the friendships you'd lose. Of the times you'd want so desperately to cry--but you couldn't. Of the long walks in the woods just trying to find your heart and maybe put two pieces back together again. Of the suffocating darkness that would strike at you from every corner. Nobody told you about all that.
I'm still not sure if they didn't tell us because they didn't know--or because they didn't know how to explain--or because they'd tried so hard to forget, that they did forget...
It doesn't really matter. We're here now, and there's a part of us that desperately wants to go back, to be a child again, to go home. But we can't. There's no turning the clock back. There's no stepping backward.
What does Christmas really mean when you realize you will never be home for Christmas again? That there's not a place in this world that is your true home?
Maybe--just maybe--it's remembering that once, two thousand years ago, a Baby was born into a world. A world that, though He'd made it, would never, ever be His real home. Yet He chose to be born here, He chose to live here, He chose to die here--
So that, Someday, we could go Home. Home for Christmas. Home for eternity.
Because it wouldn't have been home for Him--without us.