Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.
We’re entering a time of year in which people come home. College students finish exams and head home for Christmas. Airports are crowded with people of all ages who are on their way back to their families. In a couple of weeks, both of my kids will return to Southern California to spend Christmas with my wife and me, as well as with our extended family. (There is no truth to the rumor that my kids are mostly excited to see their beloved dog!) Coming home is one of life’s sweet gifts.
For the children of Israel, coming home represented more than a holiday vacation. It meant that their centuries-long exile was over. God had forgiven their sins and was in the process of restoring the nation. Israel’s future homecoming would be a tangible sign that the kingdom of God was at hand.
Millions of people in our world today are exiles, people yearning to return to their homeland when it’s safe to do so. But even if you’re not a literal exile, you may know what it’s like to be away from “home.” And you may know how it feels to come “home” to Jesus Christ.
When we accept God’s grace through faith in Christ, we already begin to experience a homecoming. Our souls are at home with the Lord. Yet there is an ever greater homecoming yet to come. In the vision of Revelation we read: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God’” (Rev 21:3). There will be a time when God will make his home among us, and we will be fully at home with him in the new creation.
For Christians who pay attention to the liturgical year (or church year or Christian year), we have just entered the season of Advent. In this season, we remember when God came in Jesus to make his home with us, and we look forward to the future homecoming of God.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever experienced a dramatic homecoming? When?
How does the future homecoming of God impact your faith and hope, and even how you live each day?
Gracious God, first of all, I want to pray for all of those who will be coming home this month. Grant them safety in their travels. May families and friends appreciate in a new way the joy of being at home.
I also want to thank you, Lord, for the fact that I can be at home with you right now through Christ. What a joy to know that I am safe with you, that I belong in your family.
Yet this is just the beginning. I look forward with wonder to the day when you will make your home here with us on earth, when the new creation will be complete. What a day that will be! So, with the earliest Christians, I pray, Maranatha! O Lord, come! Amen.