CHRISTMAS PRESENCE AND HOME…

21 12 2018

Make room

 

There is no place like home and this is the time of the year that we romanticize that thought to almost unhealthy proportions. We set up expectations of what the perfect Christmas should look like to such the extent that the only way to pull it off is to make it a Hallmark Movie. Real life doesn’t allow for such luxuries. There are too many real people who can’t help but do too many selfish things in spite of how much they want to have themselves a Merry Little Christmas! This side of Heaven is no place to do anything more than dream of that prolific home where all goes right.

 Still, in spite of all the disappointments, we are all longing for home. God actually created us with a yearning for eternity, built right into our DNA. This is why we are restless for something more than what we see. Our problem is that we try to fill the hole in our soul with presents when what will really do the trick is opening your spirit wide to God’s Presence. Ever since Adam and Eve blundered in the Garden of Eden, we have been attempting to navigate our way back there. Mankind must understand that human maps don’t lead to the Lord’s treasure. People have got to look up before they have any shot of populating Paradise. Earth can’t supply what it doesn’t have to give.

 If Home is not safe, then the shape you’ll be in is not the shape God meant for you to be in! God designed home to be a safe place. Home should not include abuse, rejection, dysfunction and despair. Home should be a place where you belong. A place where you can take your shoes off and not worry about the reaction. Home is what you don’t have to earn by your good works and endless efforts. In the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father waited nightly hoping to see his wayward Child making his way back up the driveway. When it actually happened, the Father ran to his Son, took him in his arms and celebrated him even though he hadn’t yet done anything right. Home is not belonging out of obligation, because it’s a place of grace. There was no way any of us could buy our way in. This is why Jesus paid the price that He did so that God’s backyard wouldn’t be eternally empty and quiet. The Father didn’t make us to live so far from Him. This World may not be the best place to hang our hat, but it is a tailor made to discover the God we all need.

Do you ever notice that on our calendar, Christmas follows the Fall? Eden wasn’t an optical illusion. The Garden wasn’t a mirage. We all long to return to Paradise and a perfect Heaven does exist. It just can’t be reached with even the most technologically advanced GPS! This Christmas, the Lord longs for the hearts of Parents to be turned towards their Children and the hearts of Children to become warmed towards their Mothers and Fathers. This Christmas, Jesus wants us to discover the gifts that we already possess in our connection with one another. Husbands to court their wives all over again. Grandparents who invest their stories into their grandchildren. Humanity receiving what they need vertically so that they actually have something of real value to offer horizontally. Home is where God is and if God is in you, then you carry that safe and secure place around inside of you even if you have no geographical place on earth to lay your head.

Isn’t it ironic that God didn’t make it that easy for Joseph and Mary to give birth to Baby Jesus? Joseph and Mary actually would have had more support in Nazareth than in Bethlehem and yet He still sent them on that wild ride. Jesus was born in a pile of manure! Do you think God was trying to make a point by modeling for us that Home isn’t a street address as much as it is having your name known in Heaven? Jesus didn’t even own a P.O. Box and yet He never was lost. Jesus showed us that the only way to truly be homeless was to be estranged from the Father you were meant to be with.

Listen carefully to some of the final words that Jesus shared with His Disciples when He lived here among us. The Lord said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Jesus is actually talking the language of a Groom who is about to be married. In Jesus’ Day, Families lived in a caring community called an “insula.” In an insula, there would be a courtyard which was a large open area where there might be animals and places for a cooking fire and then the dwelling places. These were the very rooms where each individual family would actually live. These rooms were built all around the insula. Home would be the dwelling of multiple generations of people.

Marriages in Jesus’ Day were arranged by the Father of the Family. The Bride was referred to as “She who was bought at a price.” The Church, who is described as the Bride in the New Testament, was also defined as “bought with a price.” The dowry paid was the blood of Jesus shed upon the Cross to purchase our freedom. When the couple got engaged, they would not go “house hunting.” Realtors would go out of business back in Nazareth. The Father of the Family would just go about adding another room to the insula! This meant that Groom and the Bride couldn’t set a Wedding Date. Even though they would be legally betrothed, the consummation couldn’t occur until the room was ready! This put pressure on the Bride to be ready when the Groom was free to come. If she was preoccupied with other lovers; she could miss out on the relationship that she was created for. The Bible tells us that our Rooms are being prepared in Heaven and when they are ready, Jesus will come back to get His Bride. Will we be ready and waiting when Jesus comes back to get us?

I want to share one more nugget before I am done. When the time for the Wedding came, the Father would say to his Son, “Go and get your Bride!” The Groom would immediately assemble the victory parade and the shofar would be blown to alert that the time for the Wedding had come. The trumpet will one day sound when Jesus returns. Will that be a sound of joy or a time of terror? What we do with the Presence of Jesus determines our forever. We were not created to settle for a home in the brokenness! There is no place like Home for the Holidays but there is no Home for the Holidays without the Lord. You can be home for Christmas and it must be much more than only in your dreams. God is inviting you to come home where you belong. Are you so busy trying to find your joy in presents that you will miss the proper Presence of Christmas! Make room in your heart for Him. He has already made room in His Home for you!

 

 

 

 


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