Thursday, December 31, 2015

Where the Heart Can Rest

I admit that I’m not much of a traveler. Whenever I leave home, I can’t wait to return. But even for those of us who do enjoy travel, there’s always a sense of restlessness until we finally return home. Henry Van Dyke wrote about this in a poem.

I read within a poet's book
A word that starred the page:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage!"

Yes, that is true; and something more
You'll find, where'er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home.

But every
house where Love abides,
Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest.

There the heart can rest. That’s the home we long for. That place where the heart can rest.

Do you ever feel a restlessness that you can’t identify? Do you find yourself searching for something and you don’t even know what you’re searching for? It’s like when you go to the grocery store because you’re hankering for something but you don’t quite know what it is. So you start walking up and down the aisles of the store thinking whatever it is you’re wanting will jump off the shelf and you’ll know it when you see it. You wander around searching for God-knows-what. That’s the kind of restlessness so many of us live with. And it makes us homeless.

Saint Augustine understood this kind of homelessness when he described the most basic human longing. He said, “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

John’s Christmas story tells us that “The Word became flesh and lived among us.” That word for lived is often translated “dwelt.” It’s a rich word for us because it describes our relationship with God. In the original language, it means literally “to pitch a tent.” God came and pitched a tent in our world. God became a human being, like us, and made his home in our world. God has made his home with us. And because God has made his home with us, we have a place where the heart can rest. We are always home.

As we begin a new year, it’s good to be reminded of that. God became a human being and made his home with us. And because of that, we don’t have to live as homeless people. Our home can be found here, in this place God has made his home.

So, here’s a New Year’s resolution for you. It’s really quite simple. But it can change your life on a deeply profound level. This year… spend more time at home.   

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