I don’t know about you, but I love to come home. I enjoy traveling, going out with friends, and running errands, but I always love coming home. I might be gone for a week or an hour, but as soon as I walk in the door, I feel relief. I’m where I belong. I love coming home, and I love being home.
Home is familiar. Comfortable. Safe.
It wasn’t always that way. I was a child of divorce, remarriage, and re-divorce. My home didn’t always feel comfortable or safe, and instead of looking forward to coming home, I desperately wanted to leave.
When I started a family and created my own home, I tried to love it, but I was in a bad marriage that eventually ended in divorce. The home my children knew had split and become two.
I wondered if they felt familiar, comfortable, and safe in both. Or did they feel transient, burdened, and always longing for the other home?
Sometimes, as much as I love my home, I long for my other one. I’m comfortable here. It’s familiar. It’s what I’ve made it. And it is safe now because I’ve made it to be. But sometimes, I feel an ache for a place I think I remember but I’ve never been to. A place I’ve only been told about but still feels like mine. A place where, when I look to the sky, I can practically envision. It feels more like home than the one I’ve decorated and furnished.
I wonder what it felt like to be God in the form of a baby. To leave the home that was familiar, comfortable, and safe and to suddenly awaken in a different world, unable to tell anyone who you are or why you’re there. To be fully God, yet fully dependent on the people you created?
In a world of unrest, did He feel safe? In a turbulent time, when his parents took him and fled for their lives, did he wish he had four walls and three squares? Did He long for one home while He was living in the other?
I wonder how much he understood, being a baby and all. Yes, He was fully God, but He was also fully baby, having to rely on his parents to keep him safe.
Remember when Mary and Joseph lost their son? He was twelve. Old enough to be responsible for getting himself to the bus on time to leave Jerusalem. When his parents realized he missed the caravan back to Nazareth, they had to backtrack—a day’s journey (Did you ever wonder how they could have gone a full day before they realized he was gone? If you ever lived with a twelve-year old boy, you’d get it).
They found him in the temple. His mother made an attempt at instilling Jewish guilt by asking him how he could treat them this way. He replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
He was Homesick.
And what about all those times during His ministry when He went off to pray by Himself? Did He long for Home then? Did He sit on a mountaintop, or in a rowboat on the middle of a still lake and look up to the sky, His other home? Unlike me, He knew exactly what that other Home looked like. All the more reason to be Homesick.
He was rejected in his own hometown, Nazareth. Yet, when He died, the thief on the cross next to him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Don’t forget me when you get Home.
To which our Savior—that grown up baby who left His Heavenly Home to live in an earthly one—replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
That’s where our Home truly is. Sometimes we visit a place we call paradise on earth. Maybe it’s someplace tropical—one of those resorts with the grass huts on top of crystal clear turquoise water.
It seems like paradise, but the mosquitoes are the size of dragonflies and we’re worried we might get Typhoid Fever, or we had a bad meal that didn’t agree with us (I’m only speculating, as this is only a fantasy of mine. The mosquitoes and bad meals make the fact that I’m missing out more bearable).
As wonderful as the vacation was, we can’t wait to get home.
And as much as I love the home I have here, the one that is comfortable, familiar, and safe, the one that is waiting for me is all of that and more. It’s paradise! And we all long for paradise.
That’s why I sometimes feel homesick for the place I’ve never been to but feel like I was.
But maybe I have. That’s why I believe that when I finally go to my other Home, my first one, the one that houses God’s workshop where he fashioned me—that I’ll have a grass hut in water the color and depth of nothing I’ve ever seen on earth.
Ah, paradise! That’s Home.
Blessed Christmas. May the peace that comes from Your Heavenly Home be evident in your earthly one.
Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com