One of the great joys of the Christmas season is going home. Many will leave big cities and travel to small hamlets scattered across this great land; some finding their way back to home places that have been in the family for generations. There are a few of us who will find ourselves celebrating the home going of loved ones. I am one such person this season.
Just this morning I stood by the bedside of a sainted lady in our church mere moments after she had taken her last breath. She was 5 days shy of spending 94 years on this earth and had consistently wondered for the last several years why God had left her here so long. Widowed for 60+ years, no children, and little other family remaining she had not outlived she felt quite lonely. However she never felt alone. This dear woman always shared about the nearness of God in her life. I often listened with rapt attention to her accounts of God's nearness longing for that same, irrefutable sense of His presence. Her words to me were, "But you are so busy, and I have nothing to do." I knew then, and I certainly know now, who was the one more blessed.
Several years ago my youngest son accompanied my wife and I to a funeral. He was 4 1/2 and intensely interested in the solemn proceedings of the day. As the graveside "Amen" was said and others were hugging family and sharing some final words of kindness Clayton was insistent that we move to the graveside. I obliged and took him to where the casket was about to be lowered into the ground. He very studiously peered into the hole in the ground for several moments. His curiosity satisfied he took my hand and we began to walk away. After a moment he said, "Dad, I don't think I like heaven." I sank to one knee looking into his intelligent eyes and said, "Oh, son, heaven is not a hole in the ground!" Taking him into my arms I shared with him what a wonderful place heaven is for those who know and love the Lord. It is a moment, with my son, which I cherish.
In the midst of this Christmas celebration there will be those who go home. Some to houses full of laughter and joy. Some to homes prepared for them by the hands of the Maker Himself. "I go to prepare a place for you, if it were not so I would have told you." (John 14:2) Joy shall reign.
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