Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Good to Be Home

"It's good to be home."  I heave a sigh of contented agreement in reply.  The words of my dear friend may sound odd to an eavesdropping ear given our context--the portion of the Appalachian Trail that weaves its way through the Shenandoah Valley.  After all, it is the first time either of us have tread upon this particular piece of land and the loads on our back betray our nomadic intentions.  The vistas are novel feasts for our eyes.  Our breakfast companions are new acquaintances.  And the trail does not exist because of our travels, but is a gift from the hundreds of hikers that went before us.  Yet here, in this new, yet strangely familiar place, is where we experience a comfort that too often eludes us at the addresses that claim our residence. How could a place previously unknown apart from maps, photos and hearsay every deserve this heartfelt description, "home"?

As I reflect on the Advent season, the same paradox both bewilders my reason and quickens my spirit.  Advent--a time of anticipation, expectation, hope.  And what do we anticipate if not wholeness, belonging, rest?  What do we hope for other than to be fully at home? Yet a hope that is seen is no hope at all.  So we hope for what we do not see. We look forward to a home unknown apart from maps and hearsay.   
For the Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God ....
                 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as  we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
            For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees? 
                                                                      But if we hope for  what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8)  
As we plod through ordinary life, tasks and routine we are tempted to believe that the fullness of home has arrived.  On our most common of days, we look only to the few yards in front of our toes.  Yet, in this season we are reminded to look up!  To remember the whole story.  To remember that the painful severing of our family bonds, the exploitation of our lands, the abuse of our children, the cancer that plagues our bodies, the greed, power lust and pride that threatens to strangle our communities is not the home God meant for us.  Advent calls us into a beautiful adventure--to place our hope in the humble, unimpressive, human child who is God himself.  This is an adventure that promises to take all the disrepair which we have come to accept and transform it into something beautiful.  An adventure that will bring us home.

This Advent, let us anticipate the day in which we find ourselves in a kingdom entirely new, yet strangely familiar.  And in a peace that passes all understanding we will sigh at last, "It's good to be home."


  1. I love Advent, and this reflection adds to it, Lisa. Thank you for the invitation.