Home for Christmas
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God . . . Ephesians 2:19
Our kids, both in college now, were home for a few days at Thanksgiving. It was an all-too-short trip, but thankfully, they’re coming home soon for Christmas break. When they’re gone, we miss them and it’s safe to say that we’re very excited about being together again for a few weeks over Christmas. I’m glad they can go off to college, but I want them to come home and I cannot imagine what it would be like if they didn’t want to come back. What if they left and never returned home? What if they just wandered off, becoming strangers? As a parent, that pain would be horrific.
In today’s passage, Paul used this imagery of family to describe our relationship with God. He said that we’ve all gone our own way, turning ourselves from God. He explained how this, whether we realized it or not, has made us strangers to him. Without God, we’re lost and alone, but in his great love, he reached out, coming to Earth as a human to show us that love. In doing so, he did everything necessary to restore us to him. Our father has called us home to a loving relationship with him. Now, our job is to return home.
I’ve often thought of my faith in terms of the things I believe to be true. My faith certainly does contain doctrine, but it is so much more. My interaction with my children may involve legal definitions and factual truths, but more than anything, it’s a relationship. We know and appreciate each other, and we look forward to spending time together. We invest in our relationship because we truly love each other.
Again, this is the language that Paul used to describe our relationship with God. Because of Christmas – when God came to Earth as a man – we’ve gone from stranger to family. This isn’t simply a bunch of facts and doctrine. This is a loving parent/child relationship in which we must invest time and effort to get to know God better, loving him more. This isn’t something we do only once. This is a relationship that we must pursue every day for the rest of our lives.
God has loved us deeply. Now, our only right response is to love him back, daily seeking him, talking to him, and listening to him. God has called us, now we respond by coming home.