As long as I’ve lived I have been an itinerant. Born in an out of the way hamlet in northwest Iowa (claim to fame Blue Bunny Ice Cream), moved to the tip of the glove in the lower peninsula of Michigan, slid down to Hell Touched Earth, Nebraska (it shall remain nameless), then to Oscoda, Valparaiso, Chicago (for a minute), Park Hills, Erlanger, Prairie Village, and finally to LaPorte only to find out that in order to be from LaPorte you would need to be born here. So after thirty years (thirty-one if you count an internship year) I’m still an itinerant in this fair city. No place to call home except home.
This is the month we mourned the loss of a brother-in-law, a father, and a wife. So Advent truly is blue but it reminds us of where home really is located. It’s not 1036 Waukazoo Ave in Petoskey or on Maple, or Sycamore or Anywhere, USA. Even the apostle Thomas was confused about where home was:
“Thomas said to (Jesus), ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?'” (John 14:5)
Three years Thomas spent with Jesus but was still lost. He saw him raised from the dead and still acted confused. Maybe he thought he still had a hangover and saw visions. “I am the way…” Jesus said. “I will show you the way home,” is what he was telling Thomas. There is an inherent restlessness about where home is if you know Jesus. Nothing quite feels right – like home. I’ve always wanted a crowded table and a big family gathered around a holiday meal – that was home to me in daydreams. Yet, even big families, when they know Jesus, know that they are never really “home.”
We live more like nomads – tent people. Moving from place to place – job to job – collecting memories, victories, and defeats along the way. We put a star or an angel on the top of the tree looking for something to guide us like wise men and women. So let’s just stroll into the Christmas story and the busy streets of dusty Bethlehem Ephrathah.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
Be Well…and Happy Christmas