Home for the Holidays

Are there Christmas songs already playing in your home?

I imagine the well-known verse, “There is no place like home for the holidays” stirs sweet memories for some. I was talking with some of the college students from our church about their plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas with their family and friends. They lit up like a Christmas tree with joy as they recalled some of the traditional activities they do as a family. This week, some grandparents in our church shared their excitement to share Thanksgiving and Christmas with their first grandchild! They had locked in the dates and were busy arranging the details. My mouth began to water with some of the preparations they were making to feast with their family.

For others in our church family this will be a holiday season that brings awareness of deep longings for home. Some have family members overseas. Others will be reminded of a deceased loved one no longer at the family table. A brother in Christ recently shared with me that since becoming a Christian, he is no longer invited to family events.

The holidays can help us hope for our home in heaven.

Consider the holiness of Jesus as he shared a holiday meal with his disciples before the Passover. This was the final meal that Jesus had with his disciples before his betrayal, crucifixion, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins to those who receive him (John 13:1-4). One of Jesus’ own disciples, who appeared like part of the family, would betray Jesus: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). The other disciples would scatter and leave Jesus alone: “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32). Peter would even deny him three times: “The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times” (Luke 22:61). Jesus knows all these things are going to happen to him, yet since he is the Lord, the Son of God, he is the one doing all the comforting for his disciples: “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1).

Jesus gives some comforting news to calm the hearts of his disciples. Christian let your heart be comforted and rejoice that Jesus is a preparing a place for you in his Father’s house.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

Each year for Christmas there is much work to prepare for your family coming home. You plan the dates months in advance, and try to coordinate schedules, and begin working on all the details to be ready for the arrival. The family is growing so you must think carefully to arrange room assignments, so everyone fits. You start thinking about family member preferences, interests, and desires and you get excited to make the appropriate arrangements for food, gifts, decorations, and activities. And when your family arrives home and everything is ready for all the family to enjoy fellowship together, your heart fills with the joyful feeling of comfort. Whatever glimmer of joy and comfort we experience at home over these days cannot be compared to going home to be with Jesus in heaven.

What must the preparations be like from the God of heaven and earth, the Lord and ruler of the universe? Jesus comforts us to tell us that he is the one preparing a place for us.

God is the only one who rules with perfect righteousness and justice (Psalm 89:14; Isa 32:1). He is going to make sure that everyone in the family is treated right and fairly when they come home. Jesus is also the all-powerful creator and sustainer of all things (Col 1:15-17). Nothing limits the good that he can do to prepare for his family’s homecoming. His family is myriads upon myriads upon myriads, like the grains of sand from the seashores (Gen 22:8; Rev 7:9). He is pleased to prepare room for every single soul that is in His book of Life (Rev 21:7). As the eternal Son, Jesus does not grow weary from the work of preparation (John 5:17). He will not tire once his innumerable family members arrive. We often need to recover and rest after prepping, cooking, caring, and cleaning and hosting family. Jesus will continue to care and sustain and provide for his family forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

Jesus is our holy High Priest who perfectly sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb 4:15-16). So, he understands the difficulty of our Christian journey home, and his compassion and lovingkindness know no limit to sooth our sorrows when we come through the arrival gate of death.

Our perfect Heavenly Host is all knowing (John 2:24-25; 16:30; 21:17). He knows all our preferences, our interests, and our thoughts and desires (Ps 139:1-6). The Father in perfect wisdom has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world for adoption through Jesus (Eph 1:4-6), so God is not restrained by time to prepare and make things ready for his family. There are no last-minute change of plans, all God’s family will be coming home safely. No circumstances catch God off guard. Not one of Jesus’s disciples will arrive to the Father’s home and be met with, “Sorry there is no room available.” I speculate that Mary told Jesus regularly growing up what it was like to not have a room available when she was pregnant, so He will make sure there is room for everyone (Luke 2:7). Then imagine how, with perfect wisdom, Jesus is preparing to lavish us with his kindness forever for the praise of His glory (Ps 16:11; 139:1-6).

Whatever the home experience is like for us this holiday season, may it cause us to hope even more in the home that Jesus is preparing for us in heaven.

If you are reading this and you want to know how can you be assured and certain of the way to such a wonderful home with God, Jesus, the God of heaven and earth, told his friend Thomas. “And you know the way where I am going” (John 14:4). Jesus wants to assure you that you can know for certain there is one way and only one way to be with God forever.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

Jesus commands you to turn away from your selfish sin against God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today who died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead to make you right with God. If you receive Jesus, then Jesus says, “where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus wants us to be assured this holiday season that we have an eternal and lasting home with Jesus (Heb 13:14). May the good news of Jesus Christ comfort our troubled hearts.

Aaron Birk
Aaron is married to Tirzah and has three children: Zemirah, Boaz, and Keziah. Aaron is the Pastor of Global Missions for Faith Church. He serves as a service Pastor for the 11:00 a.m. worship service at Faith West. Aaron oversees international students, missionaries, and short term missions. He is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).