By Blaine Ledbetter
Coming home for Christmas never really meant much to me until I moved an hour away from home for college. I would pack up my things at the end of each semester and make the trek back to my mom’s for Christmas break. My family has always lived within an hour of wherever I was living during the season, and I am very fortunate to always be within a short drive of all my family’s festivities around the holidays. My sister-in-law, however, is not as fortunate as she and her family now live three hours away so when they come home for Christmas, it’s a bit more frenzied than just hopping in the car and driving ten minutes down the road for a family get-together. Packing and presents and preparations go into the hustle of coming home for the holidays for her. But what a joy to be home, even for just a few days!
I know many people think of “going home for the holidays” with the nostalgia of flying in a couple days before Christmas and staying with family for a few days, or maybe you think of driving fifteen minutes down the road to your parents’ house on Christmas Day to open presents and eat Christmas dinner with the family.
For some of you, going home for the holidays may be hard, messy, uncomfortable… and for some, not possible.
I think of people for whom the holidays are incredibly painful. They either don’t have a home, physically, to go to in celebration of Christmas or they are unwelcome around family due to past choices and complicated family dynamics.
Whatever the reason may be, I want to invite you home this Christmas. Maybe not to the “home” you’re thinking of. This home isn’t a brick 3 bedroom, 2 bath home decorated with twinkle lights and garland.
This home I’m referring to is the church. The place where sometimes things have gotten hard and sometimes the people inside have gotten it all wrong. Where you have maybe felt unwelcome but it also may be where you have never felt more seen and known and loved. Whether you’ve felt unworthy, whether you’ve felt neglected, battered, or ashamed… it’s time to come home and stay for a bit.
Jesus is waiting. He wants you to see how he can change your life. You are welcome, you are wanted, and you are loved. Come back home. This world is temporary and the days are fleeting. So grab a blanket, come with an expectant heart, and let’s see how Christ can change your life this Christmas. Just come back home.