“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.“
2 Peter 3:13 (NIV)
Today I am thankful for a place to call home — several such places, in fact; including one that exceeds all others and will never fade or crumble. I suppose some would find it a rather odd song to be singing in church, but this morning I found myself singing, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” To be fair, it was six-thirty in the morning and I was alone with God as I cleaned bathrooms, floor, and doors to get the building ready for our worship gathering. Yet, there I was, worshiping God with a Christmas song that acknowledges a longing to be home.
I am thankful for the home I grew up in with my parents and my brothers and sister. It is the place where I first learned about God, about love, and about learning to get along even in the midst of conflict. I am thankful for the home I have with my family today. It is a home that has existed in three different locations over the years; but regardless of the house it has been in, it is a home established by the power of God for His glory. I am thankful for the church gatherings I have called home. From The Country Church as a child to Pleasant View Bible Church in my early teenage years, to the Etna Green Church of Christ as a young adult and now at the Deer Run Church of Christ as a not so young adult, these church homes have each taught be something about living for Christ. I am thankful because each one of these homes have had a part in teaching me that there is a better home yet to come.
So, as I sang “I’ll be home for Christmas“, my mind couldn’t help but think of the various homes I have longed for over the years. And as I thought of the homes I have been a part of here on earth, my deeper longing turned toward the home that is yet to come. And then I realized that it is God’s desire that I live as a resident of His home even as I find myself not home yet. When I travel to represent the prayer ministry, I still live as much as possible as I would if I was at home. I am living as one who is traveling through this life with an awareness of an eternal home. As such, I ought to live each day as a resident of that home even as I long for the day I will fully enter that home and find rest.
I pray that you and I would be thankful for the things we can learn from the homes we experience here on earth. I pray that our inner longing for a home to belong to would be satisfied here on earth even as we understand a greater fulfillment is yet to come. I pray that we would not dismiss the lessons God has taught us even in homes that were less than ideal. I pray that we would not just long for a home of righteousness, but that we would be actively involved in sharing the good news of that home with others.