Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home for the Holidays

My mom went "home" on December 6th 2004 and I miss her dearly, especially during the holidays. This is a guest post by Joni Corby for those who've lost loved ones, or face losing loved ones this season or anytime.
Diane Markins

For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home. But even when we are home
it may seem like something’s missing.

Some of it has to do with high expectations. The media slams us with images of how to have the “perfect” Christmas…bake the “perfect” cookies, buy the “perfect” gift, start the “perfect” family traditions and how to “perfectly” decorate your house! Okay, I’m starting to hyperventilate already………..

I want to suggest that another reason that celebrating Christmas is never quite as right or fulfilling as we hope is because we aren’t really home for the holidays.

As believers, our home is in heaven. 1st Peter 2:11 says that we are aliens and strangers here on planet Earth. No wonder we feel out of sorts so much. We keep trying to get it right but it doesn’t quite come together. Kinda like going to McDonalds in China. You can still get a “quarter pounder” but something’s just not right about it!

But what will it be like when we are really “home for the holidays” in heaven?

Heaven, Randy Alcorn’s book says, “The Scripture describes heaven as a bright, vibrant, and physical new Earth, free from sin, suffering and death, and brimming with Christ’s presence, wondrous natural beauty, and the richness of human culture as God intended it.”

In 1952, young Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She already had been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for 15 hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

For Believers, that shore is Jesus and being with him in the place that he promised to prepare for us, where we will live with him forever. Being an alien in a foreign land isn’t easy. If you are growing weary and tired as you “swim against the current” in our culture, I encourage you to keep your eye on the shore- on Jesus- and picture in your mind’s eye your eternal “home for the holidays”.

Share your stories, memories or comments.

Joni Corby is the teaching director of Community Bible Study in Anthem, Arizona. She lives in Black Canyon City with her husband (of 32 years) Mark and has two grown sons and a daughter-in-law. You can reach her at

* Visit CBN online to read a devotion I wrote about Kurt Warner called "Fallen Athlete" from a previous post here. DM


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful thought to dwell on. You're very's SO easy to get caught up in baking, giving, family gatherings (which are all great), but it still can seem less satisfying and fulfilling than we (at least myself) expect sometimes.I look forward to the day when we are really home for the holidays.

Linda S. Fitzgerald said...

The first Christmas after my husband died, there was a real struggle with the girls over the Christmas tree - too short, too small, not straight, etc. Finally in a fit of anger, I started tearing off the lights then sunk to the floor and sobbed. I shouted all the anger and grief I felt. When I calmed down, I looked up to see my 3 daughters looking at me from the doorway. I remember wiping my eyes and saying "you've heard of Primal Scream - well you just witnessed it!"

They laughed (a little), came into the room and we hugged and they said the tree was fine and not to take it down (I had struggled to get the darn thing to stand straight). We then joined together and finished decorating it. Over hot chocolate, we decided to have a party right before Christmas and invite all the friends we'd had while Alan was still living - including the girls' friends & that's what we did. This small town talked about us behind our backs, but we didn't care because we did it to celebrate Alan's life and to help us feel better at the time.

We simply have to make adjustments when folks are no longer with us and old traditions must give way to the new. Not easy, though! But it has always been good to know that "Daddy" (Alan W. Fitzgerald) is already at "home" in high and heavenly places and that someday we'll all be together again!

Joni Corby said...

As I was thinking about this idea of people I know who really are "home for the holidays", I kept seeing the smiling faces of my mother and father-in-law and my own pre-born infant son sitting at the feet of Jesus waiting for me to join them. Helps me keep things in perspective. So glad we can look forward to that place.