Isaiah 66:13 – As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.
John 14:2 – In my Father's house are many rooms. (NIV)
I got a chance to go "home" before Christmas, but I didn't want to go. Home, in this case, is not where I live now, but the place where I was born and grew up. That's Windsor, Ontario, right across from Detroit, Michigan. The reason I didn't want to go is that my mother died earlier this year, and I went back to the family gravesite. I hadn't been back in twenty years. It was very healing for me, and helped me get a sense of closure to her passing. I've moved a lot, and lived in a lot of different places, and the tears I shed there, tell me that Windsor will always be "home" in some sense to me.
This time during the approach of Christmas, the time Christians call Advent, is a yearly, ringing affirmation that Jesus Christ is on His way to re-enter our lives once again. Christ is with the universal Christian church and every believer. But because we are so human, we need to tell ourselves, remind ourselves and show ourselves that Christ is real, and did indeed come to our Earth to love and save us all.
To be a human being means that the disappointments, hurts and pains of life will hit each of us some time. While we walk on this earth, and live in bodies of flesh, we can't escape that. But the message of Christmas is that the God who created the universe, loves us and cares enough about us to put on human flesh and to die for us, and, by the Holy Spirit, to be our divine help and companion every moment of our life, in every thing we do.
That's enough of a reason to decorate your house with lights! I have a Christmas decoration in the shape of a large star. My grandfather bought it, my father owned it, and now it belongs to me. This year, I hung it in the front window, where it has always hung every Christmas for the past ten years. Its light will shine out to tell all who see it that I am celebrating the good news that Christ comes again, and there are new beginnings.
There is a sore spot in my heart this year. I expect that there will be a teardrop or two splashing in the eggnog. Yet the very fact that I am celebrating Christmas means that I have the living hope that, while I won't see my mother for a while, I do know that she is at peace, healed of all her sickness and re-united with my father and the rest of her family. She has, in the truest sense of the word, gone home, to be with her Lord forever. Her old apartment in the seniors complex has a new tenant, but she is in one of "the many rooms" in God's house. And now, I have to wait here below, for a little while. I can wait, comforted with the presence of Christ, and go forward in God's strength into the new year, and on toward eternity.
Prayer: Creator God, in this season of Advent, let Christ's coming fill our souls. Help us remember that we are called to new beginnings, every day, every season and every year. While we may have suffered hurts this year past, let the ointment of Your love dull the pain and heal the hurt. Let us go forward into a new year, carried along by Your caring. In Jesus' name. Amen.