December 2022 Update
Some of you remember the old song, “I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams.” Historically, the connection of “home” with Christmas has been somewhat magical and comforting. Family life was especially precious and meaningful during holidays; but I’ve lived long enough to witness a great demise of “home life.” We talk about the rise of “homelessness,” e.g. people living on the street or shelter; but how many folks who live in “houses” are homeless? Too often, people live in turmoil and bitterness under the same roof, merely “passing like ships in the night.”
My heart was broken several days ago when a fellow believer related how Christmas didn’t mean much due to the fractured relationships within his family. Being “home for Christmas” was just a “dream.” Satan’s present-day attack on the home is insidious and devastating. Remember that the Devil’s first move against Job was to destroy his family! Men can build beautiful houses, but only God can build a home.
Being a widower now for over two years, I still have a house, but not really a home. As I left for the Mission, Chris would always say, “I love you, come home soon.” She made it much more than a “house.” Now I come “home” to empty rooms and dead silence. Don’t misunderstand, I’m alone, but not lonely. Jesus is still “resident” and has made this Christmas not “merry” per/se but certainly blessed beyond measure! On “Christmas Monday,” I addressed my Mission class of the “homeless and houseless;” how precious was God’s presence and saving grace! One man stood up to testify that he had just been saved and had new life and direction! He went on to say, “I now have purpose and am no longer a victim.” PTL! What a way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life; and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
About two decades ago, Chris and I considered retiring to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. My precious teen-aged grandson, Justin, overheard my speaking to someone about “retirement;” he was quick to nudge me saying, “Gramp, you really mean ‘refirement’ don’t you?” Not long after that, Justin was promoted to his permanent Home in Glory; however, that challenging “word” from his lips still lingers in my heart. Among other things, Justin demonstrated that it’s not how long you live, but how you live that counts. Holidays or no holidays, let’s treat every day as God’s gift, living in His joy, strength, and love!
My love and blessing goes out to all of you. May this New Year be filled with true purpose and happiness in Christ!
P.S. There’s a new free resource on “The Christian Home” posted on the website. It’s based on a college course I recently taught. Click the link above to access it!