Home for Christmas

December 24, 2019 | Christmas | Jay Wintermeyer

I’ve always looked forward to Christmas. My earliest memories of the holiday are filled with hope and joy.

One year, I remember hauling a cardboard fruit box from the basement and crafting the finest sleigh my 7-year-old brain could imagine. With the sleigh constructed, I needed to find a reindeer. 

I briefly considered the cat and our rabbits but decided they were too small for my grand scheme. After the household pets let me down, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I dug in my closet and found my watercolor set. I proceeded to create a set of antlers and then carefully painted my nose cherry red. 

I corralled my baby brother, strapped him into the sleigh and cranked up the volume on my favorite Christmas record. With that, I began to haul baby Santa around the house to the sounds of Bing Crosby’s "I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” 

It wasn’t until years later that I understood the pathos of that song, originally written to honor soldiers. I can only imagine the war-weary allied troops hearing this song when it was recorded in 1943. In my mind’s eye, I picture my grandfather, a medic in World War II, writing home to my grandmother, expressing his deep desire to be home for the holiday, even if it’s just in his dreams.

As a Christ-follower, I’m engaged in a war too. The longer the war drags on, the deeper the longing grows to be home. Just like the soldier in the beloved Christmas song, it’s easy for me to get weary of the fight. When I’m tempted to give up hope, Heb. 13:14 gives me courage: “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (ESV).

I like how the Apostle Paul helps manage my expectations. If I’m looking for lasting happiness and peace in this life, I’ll repeatedly be disappointed. But there’s good news! Jesus promised to always be with me and that He’ll bring me home (Matt. 28:20 and John 14:2).

I still look forward to Christmas. I enjoy the lights and the music. But just as soldiers in battle long to be home, I too look to that day when I’ll truly be home — not just for Christmas but for eternity.