As I read Larry’s words below, I am looking at the physical state of my home around me…wrapping paper on the kitchen table, empty boxes in the living room, extra stuff everywhere from kids being home – it is a far cry from the magazine cover I see on the floor…and it seems like an accurate reflection of my heart in the midst of this busy season of work and preparing for the holidays. Thinking about what it would take to get my external home ready to invite guests in makes me want to put a “do not disturb” sign on the door and forget it. But then I consider the thought of inviting God to come home in my heart and my focus shifts from the external to the internal. I am challenged to pause. Surrender. Drink in the love that left Heaven to come after me and then loved me all the way to the cross. As I let the beauty of that overflow my heart I am reminded of what truly matters and I want let God further cultivate Shalom in my heart. Even if my external home doesn’t look like the magazine cover, the internal home of my heart can! Merry Christmas.

– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator

If you pause and think of Christmas, what are the images that flood your being?   For Christians, certainly the images of Christ’s coming through Nativity scenes and Christmas Carols are foremost in our minds, but very quickly those go to images of home and family. Through songs, movies, lots of advertisements and store displays the images of home and family beckon to us. They call us to what we all long for – home, connection, and intimacy.

“A longing for home”

So why do we all long for home?  Because we were created for home – for Shalom – that sense of peace, wholeness, goodwill to men, for a moment all is right with the world.   We all long for a place for relationships that invite us into that sense of home.

But have you ever considered whether God longs for home?   Pause and see how that strikes you.

God is complete within himself, yet he is a God of love who longs to love and be loved – to experience home in his creation.   From Eden to Israel God’s heart cry is for a people with whom he can dwell among and reveal himself through.   We see it in the very word incarnation:   “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  (John 1: 14)

“Your heart is where the home is”

So how do we meet the longing of God’s heart for home?  By opening the door of our whole heart to be fully loved and let that love overflow to others.

God’s longing for a home of love is a clear theme of the last evening of Jesus’ life.   As the disciples wondered what was going to happen and where Jesus was going, he responded, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”  (John 14:23)   He was leaving that he might return, and through the Spirit he and the Father would make their home in your heart.

Let that sink in.   Wow! How do you prepare for guests coming at Christmas?  So how do you prepare for the Heavenly Father and his Son to come not as guests but to move in and make their home with you?

You simply obey what Jesus repeatedly shared in that last intimate night with his friends. “Love each other as I have loved you.”  (John 15:12 NIV)

“The gift of coming home”

In a season filled with images of home and family, every human being longs to come home because God longs to come home.   As I let that sink in, tears come to my eyes as I feel the privilege I have to fulfill God’s desire to come home.  As I open my heart to let him come home, his love overflows touching the desires of those around me for home, family and connection.

This gift that I give to God and all those I touch cannot be purchased online or in a retail store but is the most costly gift I can ever give.   The cost of this gift is utter surrender to divine love which is vulnerable, risky, and unpredictable, but incredibly life giving to me, satisfying to God, and inviting to those who truly want to come home to love.

So as you think of what you can give to those you love this Christmas, will you pause and consider giving your Heavenly Father and Jesus the gift of coming home to your heart?

 


One Step Further:

  1. As you reflect on the current state of your heart, how might God (in the person of His Spirit) be experiencing your “home” right now?
  2. In what ways is God asking you to let him love you more deeply?
  3. What would it look like to open your heart and let God come home?
  4. How might your season be different if you were to experience and therefore overflow with a deeper love of God this season?