Written by Hetty Lalleman
At the time of Advent and Christmas there are many special ‘Christmassy’ movies on television. Usually they are rather sentimental, and all is ending well! One of the themes that seems to appeal to people, is someone lost coming home, just in time for Christmas. A kind of ‘prodigal son’ theme.
I think coming home for Christmas appeals to a sense of longing for the perfect life, the perfect family gathered around the Christmas meal, in harmony and love.
Of course, we know the reality is often very different, but the desire is there: to belong to a family that is loving and caring.
I am often intrigued by the thought that God is actually also longing for us, as a father longs for his child to come home, as in the story of the prodigal son. That story emphasizes that the son did not earn the warm welcome his father prepares for him at all. He made a mess of life! But the love of the father, or indeed the love of a mother, is stronger than the messy reality of a child’s life.
In Jeremiah 31:20 God says that Israel, called Ephraim there, is his dear son, ‘the child in whom I delight’. God cannot forget Israel, though they made a mess of it, though they neglected him and walked away from him to serve other gods. But still: ‘my heart years for him; I have great compassion for him,’ says God.
This is amazing: people who messed up everything God gave them and still God loves them. This is ‘super-natural’ love, this is divine.
What is our answer to God’s love? He is longing for you and me. Even though people may leave you, he never will. Let yourself be surrounded and embraced by God’s infinite love this Christmas! Do come home!
This post is part of an advent series. Twenty-Four diverse voices have been invited to share some thoughts on one of four themes (Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) each day during the season of Advent. Each contributor has been given just one theme and no further parameters – they may write as much or as little in the style of their own choosing.
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