There’s no place like home, right? Many of us experienced that first-hand over the holiday season that just ended. There’s something so wonderfully nostalgic about thinking of home, or better yet going home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We love being home and the holidays draw us there even more profoundly than usual.
But we have to step back for a moment and ask a question.
Where exactly is home?
Let me tell you my story to help you understand that question.
I grew up in the Baltimore, Maryland suburbs, mostly in a ranch house with light green siding. But when I was in early elementary school, my dad’s job took us to live in Hawaii for a little over a year and then Germany for just over five years.
We returned to that suburban rancher where my parents continued to live for several more years.
Meanwhile, I went to college in Baltimore, then lived there for a couple of years after graduating. I then moved to Tampa, Florida where I lived for about seven years. My wife and I moved to a different part of Baltimore for a couple of years, then back to Florida, this time outside of Gainesville, to Kentucky for a couple of years, back to Tampa for another three or four years, and finally to Murfreesboro, Tennessee (where I want to live for the rest of my life!).
That’s a lot of moving! Meanwhile, my parents moved from Baltimore to Eastern Tennessee, and now they live here in Murfreesboro too.
Do you see how “home” for me can be rather nebulous?
In many ways, Baltimore seems like home, but I haven’t been there in quite a while and I am sure it wouldn’t feel that way if I went back now. Tampa also feels a lot like home because I lived there for so long and more recently. But Murfreesboro sure feels like home now.
I guess there’s some truth to the saying “home is where the heart is” but that’s the problem. The heart changes so much. The longing for home never changes, but home sure does.
You may not have moved around nearly as much as I have, but I am sure you can’t clearly identify a singular home either. Is it the home you grew up in or the home where you now live and perhaps raised a family of your own? What would be the setting of your Hallmark Christmas movie?
Here’s what I think is going on here and why I mention this.
God has hard-wired this longing for home in our hearts because He wants us to long for our true home—our home with Him. The temporary homes we feel such nostalgia about are all shadows of that home. They are places we connect with family, love, and joy—rightly so—but not perfectly like our true home will be.
Even homes on earth are temporary – the yearning goes deeper, so much deeper, than that. Our longing for home—for family, for love, for joy—is God’s way of keeping us in a state of holy discontentment. They are reminders to us that there is something more—something better—for which we were created. That is what our kids need to rub shoulders with this week as you teach God Brought His People Home. (Unit 16, Session 4) Help your kids understand that this world (as it is now) is not our home. God intends something so much better and He provided Jesus to make us going home—really home—possible.
What about our home—our true home—do you long for most? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the January 8, 2017 session (Unit 16, Session 4) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.