Glimpses of Home

I sit cross-legged on the floor of our bedroom. Empty boxes wait to be filled, and letters and cards from years past are strewn around me in a semi-circle. It’s the best and worst part of packing for our move. They beckon me to slow down from the rush of productive work and indulge myself on a stroll down memory lane. I linger longer while looking over old Christmas cards of friends and their families and marvel at the progression of families over time- couples becoming families, families becoming fuller. As if watching a short film of each of them, the memories behind their smiling faces flash through my mind- the moments of pure and profound joy and the aches that darkened days and months. We had loved, celebrated, grieved, and cherished one another, and I sigh with contentment and heartache as I put the cards into a box and tape it closed.

***

It’s been a year since that moment on the floor. I haven’t touched the boxes since putting them in storage, but with the holidays around the corner, I can feel the familiar ache coming back. It’s a deep, pressing pain in my gut for something that once was and something that isn’t yet, something I’ve gotten glimpses of but haven’t experienced the fullness of yet. It’s a longing for home.

To me home has been found in places around the world and in people in each of those places, but each time the feeling is brief. Most days, home seems nebulous and elusive. It’s a side effect of growing up overseas, of being more than one culture, of never fully belonging in one group or the other. I hoard letters and cards because they’re souvenirs to the moments when home felt solid and tangible. They’re a way of holding those very moments in my hands over and over again.

The ache comes back with the holidays because holidays are for gathering, for throwing parties, for opening our doors and arms wide for the lonely, the hungry, and the hurting. The holidays are for inviting them into our homes and being home to the ones who are far from theirs or who have never experienced its warmth before. The holidays are about love, about remembering, dreaming, longing, and about hope. The ache reminds me to pay attention. Each Christmas card, each gathering, meal, conversation, and act of kindness contain the potential to have home feel tangible once more.

Like a kid eagerly anticipating gifts under the tree, I can’t wait to hear the thud of envelopes being dropped into our mailbox in the weeks to come. I can’t wait to hold everyone’s beautiful cards and display them where I can see them throughout the day. When friends and family are scattered around the country and the world, being all together is impossible. But this time of the year is the one time they can all be here with me and my family and I with them- even if it’s just through a photo on a card.


(This post was written in partnership with Paperless Post, where you can get create and send invitations, holiday cards, and more!)

It’s Almost Christmastime

almost christmastimeMy fingertips are cracked. The weather is cooling, and winter is coming.

The gloom.
The wait.
The ache.
The longing.

I wonder about the Israelites looking for their Messiah, wondering who it would be and if it would happen in their lifetime. I wonder how they felt in exile and what it must’ve been like to be one of those who returned. Does God still mean what He said to us long ago? Do His promises still hold? Is He with us now as He was then? 

I wonder about the heaviness of the silence before the Baby was born- how the older generation mourned the olden days while the younger generation couldn’t even imagine what it had been like, and no one could have imagined what life would be like with the coming Savior.

I wonder what it was like to be Mary, to hold the Promise in her womb, and to be the one who brought Him into this world.

The Light.
The Joy.
The Love.
The Hope.

It’s almost Christmastime, and I wonder how many of us are in the gloom, in the wait, in the ache. I wonder how many of us are hoping for new life and light, how many of us are longing to be saved out of our pits, out of our ruts, out of the loneliness that sits heavy in our hearts.

It’s almost Christmastime, but really, it’s already here. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoicesHe has come. He is with us now. Take heart, dear friends. He is Immanuel, and He is coming again soon.

Make Room

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I was cleaning the house on Christmas Eve, and a phrase came to mind- make room.

When we first looked into buying a home, there were two things we had on our hearts- 1) that it would be a place where we could raise a family and 2) that it would be a place where others could come and be blessed. We found the right place, the babies came after some time, but inviting others came to a near stop. We had nap times and bedtimes to keep, and I didn’t have the mental and physical energy to care for anyone else while tending to two littles. If this is where you are now, remember that there are seasons for everything in life, and each season brings its opportunities and difficulties. Don’t fret that you’re not doing enough.

As I got into some sort of groove as a mama of two littles, I started finding pockets of time to meet with people and to invite them into our home. It was natural at first since friends with babies wanted to have playdates, but over the past couple of months, I’ve become more intentional about making room for people, and it has been changing me. It has been stretching me in uncomfortable and good ways and leaving me wanting to know more of Jesus and His heart for people.

I was reminded that Christmas Eve morning of this hymn-

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room…

As I cleaned to make the house ready to receive guests, I realized that when we make room for others in our lives and homes we do so unto Him. He is the ultimate One who is invited in, and what we do to the least of these we do so to Him. I pray that our hearts, our homes, and even our wallets would be more open as we enter the new year and that He would be more seen and glorified in our lives.