It’s that time again. The Christmas season is upon us. I am a holiday purist to my core. You won’t see a lick of Christmas goodness around my house until that Thanksgiving turkey and smorgasbord of carbs are firmly in my belly. But you better believe once Turkey Day has had its due, I am rocking out to the Kenny and Dolly Christmas album on the ride home. “I’ll Be Home With Bells On” is one of my absolute FAVORITES!!! I remember loading up my car in the windy cold after finals and making the 5-hour trek from college back to my hometown for the holidays. That song always brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart because as much as I loved my life in that college town, there is no place I would rather be at Christmas than home.
I’m from a small town in Southeast Texas. The kind of place where everybody knows everybody…and their business. We had 2 stoplights when I went away to college and the McDonald's had opened just a few months before. But I love that little town and all the special people in it. It was where I grew up, where I fell in love, where I learned to drive and where I cheered on those Raiders under the Friday night lights. It’s where mom and dad staked their claim on a one-acre plot of land and build a little haven in the middle of the tall piney woods. And at Christmas, it was extra special because the plethora of food and gifts and family more than made up for the lack of snow and wintry temps.
At Christmas, we travel near and far to be with the ones we love and celebrate the birth of Jesus. But for Him, Christmas wasn’t a homecoming. For Him, it meant leaving home. I’ve stayed in some pretty amazing hotels in some pretty insane locations around the world, but I doubt any of them quite compare to the magnificence of Heaven. A place where peace and beauty were the order of the day. A place with no limits of time and space to hinder the flow of goodness. A place with no mess or disorder. Jesus left paradise and proximity to the Father to come to earth as a babe born under the threat of death. There wasn’t a day of His life that wasn’t lived in the shadow of the cross. His was a life of rejection, persecution and shame. Even His birth wasn’t noble. He was born to an unwed mother in a time where that alone could get you killed. There was nothing about His 33 years on this planet that was spectacular in light of the glory He left behind. Luke 19:10 tells us:
“The Son of Man came to seek and save that which is lost.”
Lost. What was lost must be found. Lost relationship. Lost identity. Lost eternity. But for the lost to be found here on Earth, Heaven had to lose. It meant the Son was gone and He would bear the weight of brokenness for all the humans and defeat death before His return. It sounds so big and grandiose and almost incomprehensible. It sounds like a lot of fancy ideas. So what does it really mean? Why did He do it? Why did Christmas come?
You. He came for you. You were enough for Him to leave it all in exchange for a life of wandering days and sleepless nights. You. It was all about you. Because you were lost. Because a Holy God and a sinful human cannot coexist in the same space. Because He loved YOU so much that He could not fathom eternity without you in it. So He came as a baby, lived a life of service and died a beggar’s death all because He wanted to bring you home. There it is again. That word: home. It is all about coming home. Christmas is the next chapter in the story of a broken humanity being given a ticket back home into the arms of the Father.