Tuesday, December 16, 2008

(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays

First - may I note how strange I've always found it that parenthesis are used in some song titles. I mean you always see the entire title and then there's a random part that has parenthesis around it. Seriously - is that necessary?

I always got so excited to hear this song on the radio when I was little because it mentioned Pennsylvania. And really, what little kid doesn't love being able to relate to things they hear. It always made me feel a little famous because my home state was mentioned in this popular Christmas song. 

Since that time, "Home" has become a much more ambiguous term. I grew up in York and there's a huge part of me that's rooted here. But, I now have roots in Fredericksburg too. I have family in both places. Because I have these two homes, I always seem to feel like I am missing something - especially since it seems impossible for these two worlds to collide. Every now and then I can enjoy seeing people from one home interact with people from another. My family comes down for a weekend and we do dinner together. A friend from home comes to visit at school, a friend from school comes home with me. It's at these times that I really sit down and think just how amazing it would be if all of my friends were to get together. This person would really get along well with this person - if only they had the opportunity to know each other. The funny thing is - I too often forget that there will be a time when these worlds will collide. In fact - they're already connected through Christ - but there will be a day when we will all share the same Home. And that Home will be so much better than York, or Fredericksburg, or anywhere else I may someday consider home. Until that time comes, I must realize that my true Home is so much more than a place. I should be able to run to the arms of my Savior and know that that is the one place I belong - my true Home. So as I sit here in the comfort of my own home surrounded by my family, loving every minute of it, I want to be reminded of my true Comforter. When I return to school and I'm taking in the laughter and pure joy in Willard or around the BCM, I want to be reminded of my one true source of Joy. 

Hebrews 11:9-10 "By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God."

Hebrews 11:13-16 "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

There really is no place like Home for the holidays this year. I want to spend Christmas in the arms of my Prince.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Songs of Advent

Zechariah's Song - Luke 1:68-79

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said though his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us -
to show mercy to our fathers 
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins, 
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the path of peace.

The Angel's Song - Luke 2:14

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

Mary's Song - Luke 1:46-55

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful 
of the humble stat of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me -
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, 
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.

Simeon's song - Luke 2:29-32

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which  you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.

A song of Faith, a song of Peace, a song of Trust, and a song of Hope. The four "Christmas songs" found in the Bible. Each character had something different to praise God for, and they wanted everybody to know. I don't know about you, but when I burst into song it's usually loud (and let's be honest - rather obnoxious) and I do so with the intention of being heard. Zechariah, Mary, Simeon, and the Angels all knew something about their God that they wanted everybody around them to know too. What message do we want to carry to the world this Christmas season? Is it a message of Faith, Peace, Trust, and Hope? What do our Advent songs look like this year?