Home for the holidays?
by Jeremiah Vaught
Are you going home for the holidays? In Chicago, a city full of people from all over all the country and even the world, this is a fair and common question. For the second year in a row I will not be visiting my hometown in North Carolina for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I would be lying if I said this did not make me a little sad. I love being here in the big city, but I miss my side of the family (I have the pleasure of living near my wife’s family).
Yet it is also a little strange to call somewhere else home that I haven’t lived regularly for over a decade now. What is home anyway? What does Christianity have to say about where my home is?
Home Is Where The Wife Is!
On March 13, 2010 I pledged to love Maysa Bunluaphob (now Vaught) for the rest of my life. In our vows, I state, “Where you lay your head, I will lay my head.” I honestly didn’t understand how this would impact my life. This means I now view home as wherever my wife lives. So when someone asks if am heading home for the holidays, unlike two years ago, my answer is always now, “I am home.” I am still learning to appreciate and understand this new reality to the fullest.
This new way of life is a sweet sacrifice. It is sweet because of rootedness that my wife brings my life as we are woven together. It is sacrifice because making a home together requires mutual giving up of ideals, dreams, and expectations in loving deference for one another’s ideals, dreams, and expectations. No matter how I feel, my home is where my wife lays her head.
Home Is What the Church Should Be!
When unacquainted believers in Jesus engage in conversation, a common question is, “What is your home church?” Now I don’t want to pick on those words, for they are fine enough to carry a conversation. But I would like to ask the question this way: “What church is a home for you?” In other words, what would it be like if we couldn’t discuss ourselves without mentioning those we love in Jesus that we partner with in the name of Jesus and in Jesus?
This is how the scriptures show the church should be. Yet this beautiful picture of commitment will only be nurtured in environments of incredibly self-sacrificing love. Such a portrait of what the church ought be will turn from dream to reality when and only when believers consistently seek the best for others at the peril of their own comforts. Will the people who call themselves followers of Jesus be a safe place to go this holiday season?
Home Is What Jesus Is!
Jesus encourages his disciples that if they ever wish to do anything of ultimate significance they must learn to abide in Him (John 15). When Jesus calls a person to abide in Him, He is calling them to come home. The Old Testament writers often refer to God as a refuge, and when Jesus calls people to abide in Himself—He is doing none other than saying He wants to be a home to us.
In a city that can be cold and lonely at this time of the year, you do not have to be without a home for the holidays. Jesus sacrificed His own life to bring you under His shelter of love. Will you come home this Christmas? Will you find that Jesus alone can make whatever you call home a place to joyfully dwell? Your yearning, our constant yearning that we all have to find a home where we can rest demonstrates that no place here can perfectly fill your need for home.
You may have experienced the painful divorce of your parents, or even a divorce of your own that has left you wondering if you’ll ever have a home. Some of you are trying to find new friends to spend the holidays with … again. Maybe it seems to happen that way every year for you. Perhaps the church has let you down many, many times. Even those places that should be a picture of our true home can fall apart. But Jesus remains a home that is unbreakable, unshakable.
Come home this holiday season. Let’s all come home!