I lean back and gaze out the window on a wintry scene. Snow flies past and bare branches outlined with a touch of snow rise to lift their arms in silent praise, waiting in this Advent season for their own resurrection. In the background Christmas music plays calling us all to nostalgic reminiscences of “the good old days.” A Chai tea steams on my tabletop as I write, it’s rich creamy taste tingling my taste buds and reminding me of yet another homey kind of feeling. What is it about this time of year…
Home. Going home for the holidays. Many of you must have certain places that trigger in your memories all that is good, all that stands for the deepest yearnings toward earthly happiness that one can hope to achieve. Is it a quality of the air breathed in that place? Is it familiar landscape with a certain feel about it? Is it because of some moments of formation from the past that were particularly stirring? Is it a special friend or friends you see maybe once a year? Is it because it is that much more familiar as a sanctuary of solace? Or is it simply taking a break from the regular routine; mysteriously causing a shift of perspective to things more meaningful in life than the daily grind of work?
Beyond the simple physical, I think there is much more to going home than that. Home is a place that echoes to us of something more. It is a journey backwards, a pilgrimage to a time before this time. On the spiritual sense, going home is where the soul safely resides, the place where one is most complete. It is the heart of things that we long for. It is the authentic presence of the Other of which we are all a part. When one is home, it is as if for a moment that Other seems much nearer than before, almost as if we can reach out and bridge the gap between this time and the time before; this place and the place we’ve journeyed from.
Yet it is also an echo from the future. Going home is knowing there are open arms waiting to draw you close. Going home is knowing there is a place prepared just for you. For a faithful heart, going home is knowing that the soul will come to rest on a farther shore. Divine hospitality waits for those who travel on pilgrim feet, and it is my prayer for you this year that your path will bring you ever nearer to the bosom of God. After all, any expression of home that we find in this worlds-realm is upheld by a much brighter existence imprinted in the very heart of things, the heart of our ultimate and eventual Home.
May the Peace of Christmas be with you, now and forever.
Scott T. Crane