The word home has got to be one of the most emotionally charged words in the English language, especially around the holidays. It is the place we do most of the living of life, both the mundane and the magical. It’s where we eat cereal and mow the lawn and raise our babies and grow and sleep and grieve and rejoice. It’s no wonder we get attached to our homes! That’s perhaps why moving has been considered the third most stressful life event after the death of a loved one or divorce; home is often our safest space, filled with lovely memories, and it’s hard to give up. In this big, whirling, scary planet, home is the place we carve out as our own, where we can be ourselves and find rest.
Much fuss is made in the real estate business about finding your “forever home,” but according to statistics, most families in America will live in their current house for only 13 years. That’s not very long in the scheme of life, and it certainly isn’t forever!
Life circumstances change all the time: getting married, having kids, taking new jobs, pursuing an education, and settling into retirement all potentially change what we need in a home. While we are all looking for our forever home, we have to face the reality that our earthly homes are definitely prone to change!
Jesus knew all about this. Before he came to earth to suffer and die and rise to take away humankind’s sin, his home was heaven! He had it made. In heaven, Jesus never got sick or sad or hungry or lonely. He enjoyed being in the Father’s presence, living in total joy, free from all evil—and yet, Jesus gave that all up for us. He left the only true forever home that exists and abdicated his throne to come be one of us.
And it didn’t stop there. When Jesus was on earth, he had zero semblance of a forever home. Though his parents lived in Nazareth, Jesus was born while they were out of town registering for a census in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7). While he was still a toddler, Jesus had to escape to the foreign country of Egypt because King Herod wanted to kill him (Matthew 2:13-15). And later, when Jesus began his formal ministry around age 30, he lived the life of a nomad. As it says in Luke 9:58, “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”
Jesus gave up his home in heaven because he knows the longing of forever written on the human heart. Even if we built perfect homes filled with perfect decor and the perfect people around us, we humans still would not be satisfied. We have a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and nothing but God can fill it. As St. Augustine of Hippo said in the first century, “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
We could never get to the forever home of heaven on our own merit. We can never be good enough on our own. How blessed we are that Jesus loves us, sinful as we are, and wanted us to live with him in heaven so badly that he was willing to give up everything for us! Now we have nothing to fear when we die because death is just a gateway to our true home, forever with Jesus.
Our homes on earth might be wonderful, but they’re nothing compared to what is up ahead, because Jesus promised that he will come back and take us home with him to enjoy the glory of heaven forever (John 14:2-4). Our forever home awaits! Thank you, Jesus, for this gift!