Life inside this burgundy-bricked house on Landis Lakes Court is beautiful. Truly, it’s a gift. It’s been a place of head, heart and personality collisions through the years, and we’ve all grown tremendously because of it.
It’s funny how a house holds so much more than our things. How a bathroom bears reminders of prom makeup and hair dye gone wrong. How a bedroom brings forth memories as colorful as the souls of those that sleep within them. The emotion evoked by familiar smells stemming from the kitchen.
I’m sitting here today thinking back on the decade of life lived inside of our walls, marveling at the speed with which life races by whether we’re ready or not. I remember the little feet that rode little scooters across the hardwood floors many Christmases ago. I think of sweet grade school crafts fastened crooked on the fridge. Life was wild back then. Always messy, but mostly fun. The washer was constantly running and so were we.
But today it’s different. So much has changed for our family over these last couple of years, and in brutal honesty, it has been embarrassing and exhausting. My parents got divorced; my mom moved out, my sister got married. Life has taken such a giant shift, and now the place I called refuge feels a lot more like a house and a lot less like a home. It’s vacant, stagnant, cold. I look at the sweet faces of siblings – toddlers turned teenagers – and swallow a lump in my throat as I wonder why the time has to fly so fast. I ask God to somehow slow it all down, to lengthen the moments we spend under this roof.
We’ve all tried to grab ahold of the remains of childhood memories and recreate them in some capacity. This Christmas, we’ve put up a tree, we’ve hung our stockings by the fire, and we’ve fought traffic and people for sake of something to wrap and place beneath the tree. We’ve banded together in an effort to make this place feel like home this Christmas, but it doesn’t. And deep down, it breaks my heart.
You see, at a time when family-togetherness is highlighted and encouraged, I wish this Christmas looked like that for us. I wish we all sat cross-legged beneath a beautifully lit tree sipping cider and sharing laughs. I wish I could store up moments of rich conversation and treasure them forever. But the reality of our lives in this season is that we’ll tear into gifts like ravenous wolves with a nutri-grain bar in hand, fighting over batteries and splitting time between two houses on Christmas morning, because that’s what happens when sin seeps into a family – it invades and corrupts and divides.
And all of a sudden, right here in the middle of my fight for a more endearing, more uplifting domicile, He whispers:
This place was never meant to be your home.
Then I stop. And I wonder why I’ve been so caught up in trying to make it that way.
This year looks different than the rest. So much different. And this year, I’ll sit in a room with a smile on my face and sadness somewhere deep inside my heart…broken, empty, lost.
And that’s exactly why He came.
He came for me.
He came for us.
So I stop here just days before Christmas – when the warmth and joy of our best selves are put forth – and say that my life, that our lives, are so very far from perfect. At best, they’re a disastrous attempt at preserving an appearance that comes to a crashing halt in the quiet places of our lives. And if there’s anything good or worthy of being remembered this week, it’s not the magic of a man-made holiday, because this place is so far from magical. It’s a world that begs for the second coming of our King; a world so sick with sin and depravity that I grow weary at the attempt to wrap my mind around it.
The thing worth being remembered is the fact that He came.
That’s the thing that’s gripping my heart, deep gratitude that He would even come. That He would walk an earth like this. That He would know a people like us. That He would save a girl like me.
But more than His coming, I am oh so grateful that He left. That He went to prepare a place for me that doesn’t take tears or sorrow into account. Our minds will be permanently stayed on Him, free from the daily news of this corrupted world. Heaven is that thought that keeps me walking; it keeps me hoping. Because Heaven will be the place where we all can be together. Safe. Brave. Redeemed.
This earth is just so broken. Even the very best house here is but a glimpse of what’s to come, it’s but a foretaste of perfect, whole habitation.
But Heaven will be more than a sterile place of gathering. More than a dwelling place.
It will be Home.
“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior…”
May the hope of Heaven propel you into tomorrow with joy!