By Stewart Holloway
Home is where Christmas memories are made. Whether it’s at mom and dad’s, grandma and grandpa’s, our in-laws, or someone else’s place, home is where Christmas memories are made. That’s why we want to be home for Christmas. In fact, this longing prompts 100 million Americans to travel every year and inspires artists to write songs and movies about being home for Christmas.
Yet, there are challenges with that longing. In 1943, Bing Crosby recorded “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” The short, 8-line song touched the hearts of Americans who had loved ones serving overseas during WWII as well as G.I.’s who heard it around the globe. The promise is made “I’ll be home for Christmas” but then the reality is admitted, “If only in my dreams.”
That’s true for many of us – we can’t go home – or we can only do so in our dreams. Maybe you always went to grandma’s house for Christmas – but now grandma has gone to be with Jesus, and you can’t go there anymore. Maybe you moved from the house you called home. Maybe your parents have passed away and there is no home to go back to. Maybe you just can’t go home because of work or you can’t afford to travel.
Perhaps you’re on the other side of the issue – someone you want to come home can’t come home – a sick loved one, a soldier serving in the military, a child who is spending their first Christmas with their in-laws. For some of us, the challenges of being home for Christmas create an even greater longing in our hearts for home. That’s where the first Christmas story can help us. Have you ever thought about this – the first Christmas occurred away from home?
Yes, in fact, Mary and Joseph spent the first several Christmases away from their “home” in Nazareth. What can we learn from these people who gave us Christmas?
First, home is where you are safe. Mary and Joseph moved from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt and back to Nazareth. The move to Egypt and the last move to Nazareth were prompted by God for the little family’s safety. Home is wherever you feel safe.
Second, home is where God leads. Every place Mary and Joseph moved, God led them according to His plan for them. God has a plan for you and your family as well. Your job is to find that plan and follow it.
Stewart Holloway is pastor of First Baptist Church, Pineville.