The longing for home is expressed in the mournful song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” You don’t know it’s sad until the end of the chorus, and of course I missed this when I was a child, thinking it was only a happy song about having snow and mistletoe and presents by the tree. I didn’t catch this was all a dream.
Where is home? What is it? It’s possible to be home and feel homesick. What then?
Life seems to be a trajectory of gain. Every year that passes you step further away from the dependence and simplicity of childhood when people told you what to do and where to be and how to dress, and you gain independence, freedom, new experiences, and the ability to choose. You choose your friends, events, playlists, and themes. You choose your movies, festivities, holidays games, or no games at all. You gain more than you could have imagined.
Yet in all the gain, there’s a loss—the loss of joy without inhibition.
It takes work to beat back that inhibition and find a way to revere what has been lost while relishing what is still good. It’s understandable to not feel up to that task in 2020.
Some Christmases aren’t going to feel like Christmas. It’s not just Charlie Brown who feels that way. Other Christmases, some sort of magic is going to break in and make the wall between heaven and earth seem thin, like the reality of God is closer than you imagined. Sometimes it will feel like home.
I don’t know where home is for you or how you can get back to it, but will you join me in not letting the dream die? It’s too deep, too human, to not be real somehow.
May you find the home your heart craves this holiday season.