Greetings Epworth Church,
As I write this newsletter, I have just returned home from a short vacation to Florida to visit Scott’s sister. We had a wonderful time in the Florida sun before coming home to cold weather! Anytime you travel you tend to reflect upon what it means to come home, especially when you walk through an airport and watch the crowds’ catching flights across the world. I always wonder whether the people are coming or going and where they call home. Coming home after travel usually involves lots of laundry, grocery shopping, and unpacking but it also means returning to a place of comfort and security. It’s your home base – where you rest your head at night, where you find nourishment, and where you keep all your stuff. We must remember though that home has little to do with the furnishings in your house and more to do with a feeling of being welcomed and at peace.
As we approach the holiday season, we must be mindful of the fact that for many of us, coming home is mixed with both positive and negative emotions. For some, home is not a place of safety or security but a place that can be filled with uncertainty, regret, harsh words, and even violence. Many of our neighbors do not have a place to come home to each night and will seek shelter at our Bethlehem Emergency Shelter on these cold nights. And others may look like they have a beautiful home on the outside but inside they feel lonely and are in need of healing or reconciliation.
Each week of Advent, we will reflect on this topic of home that can be found in many of the scriptures associated with Advent and Christmas. John the Baptist prophesizes about the One who is to come, but also reminds us that we are still wandering far from God’s promised day. When Mary receives news of her pregnancy, she seeks shelter at the home of her friend, Elizabeth. Jesus is born in the midst of a journey home and the Magi travel far from home to pay homage to the newborn king. In the scriptures home is both a physical place but also a metaphor – something we seek and something we also are called to build.
This Christmas, I’d like to invite you to come home to the One who loves you, no matter your home décor or how many people live in your house. If God can make a home for a newborn baby in a barn out back, then God can also make a home on earth for you as well. Come home to God and experience the peace of Christ that can’t be bought with toys or décor, but with love and belonging.
Whatever you home may or may not look like this holiday season, remember that your home is with God.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,