As I thumbed through some old Advent devotionals, I stumbled across this one from a former student. She is now teaching school with "Teach for America." She is one of those students who has always challenged and inspired me, two things that are rare. She is headstrong, but she is really all heart. I love her because she is...real. She cannot help but be completely honest (sometimes too...like me!) and I dig that about her. It is because of these things that she walks so closely with the Lord. She simply lays it all out there for God and others in a way that is disarming and inspiring. You'll see all of that in this excerpt from the devotional she wrote on Zephaniah 3:14-20.
"Zephaniah's message of hope screams of all that I am to be thankful for: a God FULL of mercy, a God worthy of praise and honor, an God who removes our sorrows and frees us from oppressors. The most beautiful part comes at the end of this passage in verse 20. Our God is a god who gathers us and brings us home. We are never left to walk alone in this world.
Christmas to me has always meant coming home. When I was younger it was because aunts, uncles and cousings would come home. Now it is because I go home for the holidays. Zephaniah has given a new image to associate with the advent Season, one of coming "home" to Christ. This passage gives me an image of coming home to a right relationship with the Lord and of being rightly related to my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is an image of being part of the family of God.
Advent prepares us for the coming of the Christ child and for the cmoing of a new year, or new birth. As we go home for Christmas, may we forever be reminded to make sure that we are also "home" in Christ. What is more hopeful than knowing there is always room for us to come "home" to Him?"*
Isn't that beautiful imagery? Advent as homecoming. It is just good theology, really. Jesus birth was indeed like coming home. And because of that first Christmas we are able to be a part of God's family forevermore.
Even if you are far from home this Christmas (Holli!), know that Christ himself is nearer to you than ever before. Christmas is nothing if not a homecoming. For "The Word became flesh and came home among us..." and He is with us still (John 1:14).
*The devotional was written by Miss Olivia. You can learn more about her delightful life at her blog, Honestly.