There are many who struggle through the holidays. It can be a very hard time as we deal with the twists and turns life throws our way. Whether it is a missing or lost loved one, financial hardship, or some other tragedy, the struggle is very real for some. But there is hope.
I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
It has been said that once you leave, you can never “go home” again. Sure, that means that things are never quite as good as you remember them and that we can never relive the past. But there is more to home than nostalgia or the “good ole days.”
There is something in each of us that wants to celebrate. We want to give gifts, gather together, and share good food. We yearn for time away from our cares and worries spent together with those we love.
You see, home is more than a feeling or a memory. It is the people we share life with. Home is reaching beyond our current circumstances to encourage and bless each other.
Some make festive and light during this season with thoughts of Santa, jolly elves, shiny-nosed reindeer, Christmas trees, presents, and lights. We make movies and sing songs about the fanciful and fantastical magic of the season when everything is covered in a blanket of pure white snow.
Others celebrate the season with Jesus. It is a time to remember his birth. He came as the ultimate gift for all mankind. We write plays, carols, and have special church services with candlelight and festive singing.
One story weighs heavily on my mind and heart this Christmas, and it is about family.
It is the story, the journey, of a missing son. He is lost and trapped in the lies of the world. The lie that success comes from money and selfish pursuits. Do anything to make yourself happy. Eat, drink, make merry with things that please the senses.
He wanders the world with all its ills and woes. He struggles under the failures and burdens of a hard life reaped from poor choices. His pursuit of pleasure has left him destitute, homeless, friendless, hungry, and desperate.
But then he remembers his father’s house. In that house, he was always loved, sheltered, clothed, and fed. Even with his poor choices, he hungers for a taste of what he once had, and hopes that he may be welcomed back, even as a lowly servant, just to experience that warmth once more.
Here is where the story gets real interesting. Here is where we see that you can be home for Christmas.
The young man’s father is constantly and eagerly waiting for his return. When he sees his son from afar, he runs to him. With a big hug, he welcomes his son home. He wraps him in a warm coat and makes a gift of his own ring as a symbol that he belongs. On the way to the house, he orders a feast, a return celebration like they have never seen before.
The son had come home!
The father was eagerly waiting for him. And when he returned, the father lavishly poured out his love. That is the story of the prodigal son from Luke 15—a true Christmas story.
You can be home for Christmas…