Is it really possible to "make ourselves at home" in a place that's not our home? Surely it's easier in some places than others, but truly feeling at home doesn't happen for me unless I'm...home.
Home is where I'm most myself, most at peace and most comfortable. Home is where I am refreshed and energized. Home holds routine, order and traditions. When I'm away from home, I long to be there. And Christmas anywhere other than home, just doesn't feel quite right!
I have so enjoyed being home in Covington, KY, this weekend celebrating my Savior and reconnecting with friends and family. Today at my "home" church, the message was brought by a man whom I've known since childhood. He's a chaplain in the airforce and is leaving today, probably as I type this, for a 6 month deployment in Kuwait. He spoke today of our lives being like a deployment. He said that our "deployment" has a purpose, a time frame, and a return home. I found particularly interesting the statement he made that he "did not know a single officer who fell in love with their place of deployment so much that they didn't want to return home."
Have we Christians forgotten that this world is not our home and gotten too comfortable to the point we'd rather stay here? Have we forgotten that we, too, have a purpose for being here, a time frame already ordained by God and the sweet promise of our Heavenly Home when we've fulfilled our mission? Or are we allowing the things of this world to distract us from our purpose and to forget that our days here are numbered?
The Israelites wandered in the desert living in tents for more years than I've lived, and yet I can identify with the restlessness and frustration that accompanies being unsettled. They became discontented to the point that even slavery in Egypt seemed more appealing than the years of pitching tents and packing them up again. It seemed that the land God had promised would never be given to them. They longed to be able to call a place "home."
Simon Peter reminds us in 2 Peter that this world is not our home, and yet that many of us live as if it is. I love the way he uses the word "tent" in 2 Peter 1:13-14.
13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
May we remember that this world is really just a deployment, that we're just pitching our tents here for a moment. May we not get too attached to our temporary residence. May the promise of a return trip "Home" compell us to carry out our mission.
It is with heavy hearts today that we recognize a life well-lived, a "deployment" successfully completed by our dear Mr. Jim Hostetter. I couldn't help but to think of him all weekend, and especially today. He is Home. And what better place to be for Christmas? What a joy to know that someday I, too, will be "Home for Christmas!"