Ten years ago last week, with joy too great for words, I welcomed my sweetheart home for the holidays. And ten years ago today, he put a ring on it.
Fresh from Middle Eastern soil, he was thin and tired, but God had brought him home. He was safely back home to his family and to me, and all the world seemed right that Christmas.
Members of the armed forces are not the only ones who dream of being home for Christmas. College students return home to their families, new grandbabies are brought home to proud grandparents, and empty nesters keep watch at the front door for car headlights to top the driveway late on Christmas Eve. Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays.
But the ache for those who are missing home this year is also keenly felt throughout the season. Loneliness is often felt more acutely this week than at any other time of the year. Perhaps money is too tight this season for the flight home, or the job keeps your alarm clock buzzing like usual during Christmas week. Sometimes, going home is just not an option, and the disappointment rubs raw.
Even those who will be waking up Christmas morning to the sights, sounds, and smells of mama’s breakfast or to children’s happy squeals, we too are sometimes surprised by the ache in our hearts for who else we’re missing…..grandmothers and grandfathers who are absent, wombs and cradles found empty, and estranged family members who don’t show up.
In our joy this Christmas, and in our heart’s ache for home, why don’t we indulge our pinings for a bit? Because that familiar ache in your soul to be home is a precious shadow of the eternal home for which we long….