A Place to Call Home

By Miriam Rossow

Christmas is my favorite season of the church year especially when it comes to decorations. I love the lights, the candles, the nativities, and the greens. I love the music of Christmas. I always decorate the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and leave the decorations up through Epiphany!

We start each year by participating in the Boar’s Head Festival at Concordia University Ann Arbor. The kids know their parts and look forward to it each year. I enjoy singing as an alumnus in the choir. The festival has some of my favorite music from the Christmas season; a beautiful arrangement of Silent Night, a soft and flowing Noel as the shepherds pay their respects, an arrangement of Let all Mortal Flesh that brings tears to my eyes each time I sing it, and O come all Ye Faithful with timpani and the best descant that I sing at the top of my lungs! It is such a great start to my favorite season.

This Christmas like a few before is different. This Christmas like one 6 years ago is requiring me to not have my decorations. Read more about that Christmas here. I am being asked to celebrate in a new church with a new church family that I do not know very well. I am being asked to give up some traditions that have become important to my family. I am being asked to celebrate not in my home, but in my mother’s home. And although we are participating in Boar’s Head again this year it too feels different and even like a burden at times.

This Christmas like a few before is different.

Although I am at my mother’s home it is not the same as being in my home. It doesn’t fit with my idea of being home for Christmas. Being home means familiar. Being home means comfortable and known. Being home means being surrounded by smells, touches, and tastes that bring back memories. Things are familiar at her house, but they are not mine. And although this house has been around for more years than any other house in my life right now it is not the house I grew up in. There are certainly memories, however, some of those are tainted with the death of my dad 5 years ago. Read about that Christmas here. Because it is a temporary living situation for my family, we do not have our things, our stockings, our Christmas ornaments. It does not feel like 'home for Christmas'.

For some people going home is not something they look forward to or even have as an option. Some homes are not places of peace with happy memories. Sometimes being home can mean fighting. Being home for some people can mean bringing past hurts back out of memory.

Christmas is not just about the decorations and food. It is more than that. Christmas is God coming to us. Immanuel means God with us. Jesus, the God of the universe, the creator of all things, the sustainer of all life is coming to be with us in a physical way. Jesus is the tangible love of God. Christmas is about Jesus coming into our lives, into our traditions, into our music, and into our hearts, physically.

Jesus, the God of the universe, the creator of all things, the sustainer of all life is coming to be with us in a physical way.

As I enter this season that I love with a heart that is grieving the things, traditions, and people that I hold dear I hear Jesus calling to me and saying I have come to bring peace. Jesus says, "I have come to turn hearts towards me. I have come to take the brokenness of this season of life and turn it towards me. I have come home to you and to give you a place to call home."

 Jesus steps into our homes that are not perfect. He steps into our lives. He steps into the middle of our places, relationships, and situations. He calls us to look at Him and focus on Him and watch as He takes the hurt, brokenness, anger, and grieving and turns it into rejoicing, forgiveness, love, and hope. This transformation is not instant. This change is not overnight.  As we trust and look for Jesus in our lives, we can begin to see these transformations. Jesus does not hide from us. He prepares and plans and comes to us daily.

Jesus steps into our homes that are not perfect. He steps into our lives. He steps into the middle of our places, relationships, and situations. 

In this Christmas that looks different and doesn’t feel like a home coming, Jesus steps in. He calls to me and encourages me to find Him in the places that He has put me. My decorations may not be the same and the traditions of the past may not happen the same. Feelings of grief and concern may overtake at times and even anger about my current life situation.

Jesus is God with us, and He steps into these feelings and concerns. His purpose is not to make life perfect rather to make a place of belonging, a place of hope; a home for us. And this home is not in a different place rather He comes to the place we are and transforms the situation, the heart, and calls it home, His Home.

Advent Services on Sundays at 8:30am & 11:00am and Wednesdays at 7:00pm.

Join us this Advent as we use the theme Home for Christmas; God with Us as we follow Jesus and hear about His great love for us. We are using the resource You, Follow Me to guide and supplement our services. Pick one up at Christ Our Savior or order online.

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

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