“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Where is home for you?

If you live long enough, and if you move around enough, the answer to that question will be a moving target. When I was growing up, home was a small town in Alabama. Recently Marlene and I moved for the 11th time in 44 years. That seems like a lot, until you realize the Census Bureau says the average American moves 11.7 times.

Moving around so much does have its benefits, such as seeing new places and meeting new people. As a result of our moves, we have friends all over the country, and for that matter we have friends around the world. But the flip side is that there is a certain rootlessness to life at this point. When you move eleven times, it’s hard to know where home is.

On a trip to Atlanta, I called Marlene and left a message saying I was looking forward to coming home. I ­didn’t mean I was looking forward to the house where we were living. When I got home, I ­didn’t hug the drapes and say, “Drapes, I’m glad to see you.” I ­didn’t say to the rug, “Oh, rug, I missed you so much.” The house is beautiful, but it is home because the people I love live there. Home to me is where they are, and if they are not there, it ­doesn’t seem like home at all.

That’s the point Paul is making in 2 Corinthians 5:8.

Our home isn’t in this world. Our home is somewhere else. We will never really be at home in this world because we are constantly saying good-bye to the people we love the most. They leave us, or we leave them. Our children grow up, they leave home, they come back for a visit, and all too soon they leave again. As the years pass, the visits grow more infrequent. If you are looking for a place where you won’t have to say good-bye, you won’t find it on Planet Earth. You’ll have to go somewhere else. The good-byes of this life are meant to make us homesick for heaven.

Adrian Rogers said it this way: “If you sometimes feel out of place, without roots, detached for whatever reason, take heart—that’s how homesickness feels! Your Chief Shepherd is preparing a permanent home for you in heaven, and he is waiting to see you there!”

If you don't feel at home in the world, that's a good sign because we are pilgrims on our way to a better place.

Keep your chin up, child of God.   
We're marching toward heaven.
Soon we will be at home with the Lord.

Lord Jesus, what would we do without you? We look forward to being at home with you in heaven forever. Thank you for giving us hope death cannot destroy. Amen.

Musical bonus: Almost everyone knows Silent Night. What you may not know is that it was written in German by Joseph Mohr in 1816. Here’s a beautiful version of the original German Stille Nacht by the St. Thomas Boys Choir.

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Originally published December 20, 2018.