We have entered a time of the year when thoughts often center on our homes. It may be the home where parents live and that still represents what we remember as home. It may be the home established as a place to raise one’s own children. Home may be a memory of a place and time that are no longer immediately present to us. We may feel that we are looking for the home that we once had or maybe the home that we never had but dream about. Many host a Thanksgiving meal in their home or are invited to a meal. Many look forward to being home or going home for Christmas. It is comforting to be in someone’s home for a meal.
Our desire for the security and comfort of home can create tension during this time of the year. This may happen because of difficulty in a relationship with someone in one’s family. It may happen because one lives alone at home, and it sometimes feels lonely. The rush of events for preparation and celebration, many of which are crammed before December 25, leaves little time for peaceful reflection during Advent. Personal calendars need not be dictated by the commercial calendar. We can give ourselves permission for unscheduled time at home, to let Christmas extend beyond the 25th.
During Advent, scripture readings urge us to look forward to our in the future. The prophet Isaiah sees people from all nations going to God’s house. We are part of a people on the way toward their true home, a people bigger than my family or my tribe. The house we occupy here is vulnerable. Fire or flood may destroy it. Thieves may try to break in. Our ultimate peace is not in the homes we have now or the homes we remember from the past. If we do not experience complete peace or comfort during this season, it is not a sign that there is something wrong with us. We are still pilgrims on the way, following a savior who experienced lack of stability of place as a child and wandered to preach as an adult.
Fr. Brad Jenniges