Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd Peperkorn
Lessons and Carols (Dec. 24, 2012)
TITLE: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Our text for today is from the Gospel just read from St. John chapter one.
There is something about the holiday season that evokes the homing beacon in all of us. We want to go home, quite simply put. Want want things to be as they once were. I don’t know about you, but I have a fairly clear picture in my head of what Christmas is supposed to be. I know what cookies we are supposed to have. I know how things should look and feel. I know what food to eat and which carols to sing. These memories are hard-wired into our minds from childhood and even before. There is always the elusive perfection out there. And the holiday season brings it out in all of us.
But what is in my head and reality, well, they aren’t exactly alike, or even similar sometimes. Oh, there may be bits and pieces that fit the ideal, but something or someone is always missing. It may be something missing in my heart. It may be a song or a decoration. The wrong kind of tinsel or a missing ingredient in the holiday grog, or glug, or whatever your family calls that funny drink. It may be something bigger or more important than all of that. But as Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “you can’t go home again.”
We can’t go back in time. We can’t undo the present and transport back to that hidden perfection. We can’t go home. And truth be told, that perfection of home and hearth may have never been that perfect in the first place. As children we have a remarkable capacity for forgetting what we don’t want to remember and bringing to the front what suits our purposes. You can’t go home again.
If we understand that, we begin to understand Christmas from God’s perspective. You see, many years ago we left home. We left the Garden. And when we left in our rebellion and foolishness, God’s home, our home, was never the same again. There was a gap, a place missing that could only be filled with you. God’s heart was broken for us all.
God has called and called and continued to call us home again to him. His home just isn’t the same without you. For that is your true home, in fellowship with him. It is where you belong. All of your restlessness, all of your longing for that completion, it can only be filled in Him. We search and search and try to find meaning and purpose and make things just right, but it will never work without Him.
Because of that, and because we cannot find our own way home, our Lord left His heavenly dwelling and came down to earth. He has entered into our restless hearts. He has clothed Himself in our skin and bones, so that He may lead us home in Him.
This little babe so few days old is come to us even now to calm our fears, to show us God’s love for us, and most of all, to forgive our sins and draw us back into fellowship with Him. He comes even now as a little child, as if He is saying to you, “Don’t be afraid. I’m on your side. Come and take me into your heart, into your life. For in me you will find your place, that you maybe didn’t even know was missing.”
This night is the annual celebration of the power and grace of God’s love for you. The hymns, the carols, the lights, the readings, the symbols on the tree, all of these point to the one great light, the beacon that leads the way to God in this dark and fallen world.
God has visited His people. He has come to you this night. Come and adore Him. Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again, because He has come to bring you there. You are home for Christmas, for you are home in Him.
Merry Christmas in Jesus’ name. Amen.