Friends, this season of Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, we will be focusing on coming home – coming back to the Lord, inviting the Lord to come to back to us as we continue to prepare to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. “Going Home” for the holidays may be returning to the family home, welcoming in your extended family or gathering with the friends who are the family of your heart – but for us all, it is a turning to our home with our Lord.
The General Board of Discipleship Worship Division writes, “In the United States, Christmastime and thoughts of home just go together. “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” are two of the most popular holiday songs, year after year. Christmas movies and television shows regularly feature stories of people going to their family home or extended family home over the holidays. Among the rituals we create for this darkest time of the year in the Northern hemisphere, perhaps the majority of them are associated with either going home or doing special things at home– whether lighting candles and having a time of family prayer during Advent, or decorating a Christmas tree, or caroling through a neighborhood, or hosting festive “open house” parties for friends, neighbors, and colleagues. It’s all about home.
“Advent and Christmas Season are about another kind of homecoming, the homecoming of Christ to redeem and renew us, this earth, and all creation till “heaven and nature sing” with joy eternally. The Scriptures the church uses for Advent focus first on the final fulfillment, and later on the beginning of that fulfillment in Jesus. As they seek God’s joyous desire, they also make plain just how far from it we have been and challenge us with just how far we have to go, ourselves, to begin to live into it.
“This year’s Advent and Christmas Season series embraces the secular seasonal metaphor of homecoming to wrap the challenging biblical texts this season gives us. Each week’s service will invite us to “unwrap” something that leads us toward making our hearts, our lives, our families, our communities, and our world more like the home Christ’s ultimate homecoming will make it to be.” I hope you will join us as we journey home!
Peace, Pastor Sharon