I love Christmas, I really do! It’s my favorite holiday and my favorite time of year because the air is charged with a different kind of spirit and expectation that something’s coming. Even though I love Christmas and I’ve been listening to Christmas music since way before it was socially acceptable to do so (sorry to anyone who has ridden in my car in the last month), it still seems to sneak up on me, and then pass with more of a fizzle than a bang… so, in expectation of Christmas, and in an effort to get my mind right for the holidays, I am going to do a short devo every day leading up to Christmas built out of some of my favorite Christmas carols. I hope you’ll join me for some or all of these next 12 days of Christmas!
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Christmas is a time for family. For better or for worse, whether fun or exhausting, Christmas is just a time for family. The highways and airports are packed with people going to see family. The TV stations are all playing their most family friendly content. Christmas is a time to be with your people. The song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is full of this sense of longing to be where you feel you are meant to be, with the people you are meant to be with. If we’re honest, family Christmas can feel a little more burdensome than this song lets on. I think this feeling of longing points at something bigger than time with loved ones though, I think the reason this song stirs something in us is because it points towards our desire to be with our true loved One, with God.
Christmas is a chance for us to dream of our true and better home. During Christmas we celebrate Jesus coming to us. What we need to remember though is that Jesus is coming again. The first time He came as a baby in a manger, but the next time He’s coming on a horse with a sword (and a pretty cool tattoo) to establish His kingdom (Revelation 19:11-16), to bring heaven to earth. For Christians this is good news because this means that every wrong will be made right, every tear will be wiped away, and we will be able to spend eternity in the presence of a good God as perfect, renewed people.
It concerns me that I don’t hear Christians talk about heaven very much. For a lot of people, talk about heaven gets into that area of spirituality that we want to avoid. We are a society built on immediate, seen results. This aspect of our culture has seeped into our faith, and as a result is taking our eyes off the ultimate, long-term reality. Eternity is a lot longer than our time here, but we don’t see it yet. We don’t feel it yet, and so we think it doesn’t affect us now. We should be heaven-minded people because heaven and eternity with God is where our long-term hope rests.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)
When we fix our eyes on heaven, we see that the present trials and hardships are nothing compared to the glory we will see in Christ (Romans 8:18). Heaven reminds us that, if we are in Christ, this is the closest to hell we are ever going to get. When we fix our eyes on heaven, we find reason to “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8). This is the reason Jesus came, to secure this joy for us.
Pray: God, thank you that faith in Christ’s work on the cross means that I can look forward to this promise of salvation and eternal joy. Thank you that there is a real hope to hold on to in the midst of trials and hardships. Thank you that the brokenness of this world will not last forever, and I can look forward to the day that I am with you in your kingdom. Lord Jesus come soon, Amen.