Coming Home for Christmas

Dan Reid 1 year ago
Blog 3 mins

Do you remember the end of the first Harry Potter film? As Harry’s getting on the train to leave Hogwarts, he tells Hermione: ‘I’m not going home. Not really.’

Christmas is a time of year when lots of us will be going ‘home’. Perhaps as a single person, people even expect you to be going back home, back to your parents or other family.

I’ll be doing just that and can’t wait to be with my family. In this dark, cold, and relentlessly busy season, I long for home comforts - a week of switching off, curling up under blankets and just being at home.

Except, after a few months of living in my current city, my life here has started to fill up and this has started to feel like home. As I’ve moved around over the last few years this has happened a lot. One place starts to feel like home and then I have to leave; I get confused with multiple places feeling like home.

Maybe home for you is a difficult place to be, attached to traumatic memories or problematic relationships. Perhaps you don’t have a home of your own or nowhere truly feels like home.

The good news of Christmas is that Jesus came into the world and promised everyone who follows him something so simple and beautiful – a home.

Our future home

One of my favourite lines in one of my favourite hymns goes like this:

‘When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home - what joy shall fill my heart!’1

Isn’t that a beautiful and comforting picture? Jesus is coming back to take me home. Truly home.

He came, he died, he rose again, and if we’re following him, he’s preparing a place for us in our heavenly home.

‘…My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going’ (John 14:2-4).

This won’t be a home full of fighting or bitterness, a place where things break down and a new crisis arises just as you put your feet up. All of that will have passed away, and we’ll get to enjoy being in God’s company (Revelation 21:4) – not just for a week or two, but for eternity.

More than that, it’s the place we truly belong. Life as a Christian in this country, in this world – and particularly life as a single, celibate, same-sex attracted Christian – can feel like life on the margins. We’re squeezed out, not truly belonging or fitting in. And that’s what Jesus tells us to expect.

But the reward is that heavenly home. Like Harry at Hogwarts, we’ll have found somewhere we truly belong. In one sense, I’m going home for Christmas this year. In another sense, I’m not truly going home until Jesus returns to take me there.

Our present home

So what about the here and now? That all sounds very nice, but it doesn’t take away from the mess of our homes and the looming family Christmas arguments.

On one level, being part of God’s family in the present gives us a foretaste of what that heavenly home will be like. We are not alone and are blessed with being part of a local and global community of Christians with whom we can truly belong and feel at home. If you’re feeling uneasy or isolated this Christmas, I hope that encourages you – you have a family and you have a home. If you know anyone who might be lonely this Christmas, or who finds their home and family situation difficult, why not prepare them a place at your table and invite them over? That would be a beautiful picture of what Jesus is doing for us.

Whether home and family are a safe space for you or not, let’s hold on to that promise of our true home to come and the joy it will be to finally arrive there.

  1. Stuart K. Hine, How Great Thou Art.