You’ve heard the song: “I’ll be home for Christmas. You can plan on me…”
It’s a classic, and it expresses a sentiment that has become more and more a part of what Christmas in our country is all about.
There’s just something about this time of year that people feel like we should be “home” for Christmas, around family and friends, and the comforts of home.
But if you think about it, that’s not how it always was. Read Luke 2. Notice how no one there was home for Christmas.
Mary and Joseph certainly weren’t. It hadn’t been that long ago that they were in Nazareth, minding their own business at home. But God changed all that. Think of what had transpired in the last 9 months:
- Angel visits to each of them telling them of their part in God’s eternal plan.
- An edict from the emperor, Caesar Augustus, telling them that they had to leave what was their home and go to where their ancestor was born.
- And then that journey away from home. In fact, that first Christmas, they weren’t even in a home. No, they spent that night out with the animals.
Now scan the other characters in the text.
The angels weren’t home that night. They had special duties, to go visit some shepherds and explain what Christmas really is.
And the shepherds weren’t home. They were out “in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night,” and then left to go see some baby in a feed trough.
And that child certainly wasn’t home.
But here’s the difference: He’s the only one in the story that really had a choice.
He chose to leave his heavenly throne and set aside the use of his glory and power and honor and dominion. That stuff is home for him.
Think of how far from “home” he came for Christmas to come here, because he loves you and me, and he wants us to be home forever.
Without him, we would never be home. As a race, God made us to be with him. We were created to be in God’s presence. That is our home.
And we were at home with God in that perfect Garden of Eden. We experienced perfect unity with His will and perfect expression of his love – and we were home, with all the comforts of home and security of home and peace of home. That is, until sin came in and destroyed that image of the holy God, that likeness of his perfection.
I know “The Fall” is ancient history, but it is history that changed us and it is history that we just keep on repeating, so much so that we hardly can tell what home is.
Every mistake you make, every selfish decision, every hurtful word, every prideful thought, every failure of weakness – every single one destroys what we were made to be.
Every sin means we don’t get to be home with God. Truth be told, you can probably list some of your family history that makes your home here not always feel so much like a place of peace and love and support. That’s dealing with each other, fellow sinful humans.
So God himself, the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God and judge of all, through whom all things were made, who, the Bible says, “sustains all things by his powerful Word”, who holds the stars in the sky and the planets in their courses, who rules the sea and wind and sky, …God left his home, and made this place of sin and stress and selfishness his home for a while.
Why? The angels tell us.
Look at verse 11: “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord.” Jesus came here to be our Savior, the Christ, the one promised to come and save us from sin, the one God promised at the time already of that first sin, the one who would crush Satan’s head. So Jesus came, born in that manger to live in our place, to suffer our shame, to bear our guilt. Jesus came here to give his life in that excruciating, humiliating death on a cross. He was content with a manger here so we can have a mansion when we die Jesus left home for Christmas. All so that we can be home with him, forever.
So, I guess this time of year isn’t necessarily about being home for Christmas. It’s about the fact that one day we will be home because of Christmas, forever.
See you there. And see you here as we prepare for it.