“I’ll be Home for Christmas” is a favourite song of the season. Whether we are staying home for Christmas or going home for Christmas, our hearts head home this time of year. Why? Christmas stirs up memories of holidays in the past, of a different time and place, of being with those we love, and those who love us. It reminds us of meals, celebrations, laughter, and quiet moments together. This is not, however, how Christmas got started! “Home for Christmas” is a new concept.
Picture Joseph and Mary preparing for the birth of this unexpected and most special of babies. With all of the pressures they already faced, things were about to intensify. Luke 2:1-7 says that it was at this time that Caesar announced a census of the Roman Empire. Everyone had to return to the home of their ancestors and register. This was no simple online questionnaire! They were required to travel and register in person, for the sole purpose of raising taxes.
Joseph and Mary didn’t know it at the time, but God was using this idol worshipping emperor to move millions of people in order to get this one couple from Nazareth in the north of Israel to Bethlehem in Judah. God was working to fulfill His promise that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
This was rather inconvenient! The roads were dangerous, travel was difficult. The expenses of the trip came when they were trying to get the house ready for a baby. The crowds arriving in Bethlehem made finding lodging another challenge. What they did find was less than a five star resort! Staying with the animals in a cave or barn makes the musty old sofa bed in grandma’s basement look luxurious! The family and friends they were counting on for help with the birth and the adjustment to this dramatic change in their lives were left behind or required to make their own travels.
This was not home. It was not comfortable. It was not convenient. It was, however, God at work! And when you look at that picture of the nativity a little closer, you notice something else. They weren’t the only ones who had left home for this occasion.
Hebrews 10:5-7 says “…when Christ came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, here I am, - it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.”
That was the conversation when Jesus left home to come live among us. He left the glory of heaven, the presence of the Father, and came here. He came to be with us, among us, like us, and for us. His journey, this process, was not merely uncomfortable or inconvenient. Jesus came on a mission. He came as God’s sacrifice for us, to pay for our rebellion against God. His death and resurrection would secure our forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus left home, He came here and endured the cross to get us home to the Father. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).
This Christmas, whether you are heading home, staying home, longing for home, wishing for a place to feel at home, or trying to forget home, I have a suggestion. Take some time and consider the one who left home and endured so much so that He could rescue you and bring you home to the Father as a new member of His family. This Christmas, turn to Jesus, take His hand, and head for home!
If you are looking for a place to worship the living God this Christmas, a place to connect with others, come join us on Sundays at 10:00 or December 19 at 6:30 for our Carol Service. Call if you have questions or need prayer, we are here for you (519-738-2275). Join us in our journey home to the Father with His Son and through His Son. He is Jesus, the One who left home at Christmas for you.
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