Welcome Home, O You Homeless Ones
As the we enter the last days of the year and turn to Bethlehem and the manger where God will be born, I want to invite you home.
It is an often missed part of the story of God, but one that he puts before his people time and time again, that our spiritual ancestors were a wandering people, but that he promises to bring them home.
For the Israelites, that promise was for a land to a people. For us, that promise is to all people but not to some piece of land. Our home is with God wherever we are. The table we set is home because God has come to us in this child Jesus. He has come to abide with us and to make it possible for us to abide with him.
God has come to dwell with us is the definition of the name Emmanuel. So when we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” we are expressing that ancient and deep longing for a spiritual home.
That image of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem and not finding room stirs us every year to think of those displaced by war and famine. But this year, that image finds particular poignance for us as we seek a sense of home where we are.
Even our own homes have been places of displacement for many people, being trapped and lonely, seeking for the comfort of each other, and seeking the presence of God in a world that seems upended this year.
In all of this, we return to what we have known for centuries, to the faith that has brought us into the reality that home is where God is found abiding with us. Come home this Christmas. To your faith, your church family, your Christ.
The Rev. Daniel Paul Richards
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona