In my college years, I would make the snowy drive home for Christmas with nothing but a small suitcase, a latte, and a deep yearning in my heart to carry me across the miles. Oftentimes the weather was so cold that I needed to wear gloves inside my car until the heater really got going, but I hardly noticed the chill: I was going home!
The stress and strain of finals were behind me, and I wanted nothing more than to open the door to my childhood house and see the same lights and decorations that had hung on our tree for twenty years.
Something about going home for Christmas brought back the childhood wonder that I worried I was losing.
I was trying so hard to become an adult in college, but a part of me still wanted the security of being a child in a loving home. Maybe it was the rootedness of being back in the house where our family had lived for three generations; maybe it was waking up to my mom in the kitchen and my dad reading in his favorite chair.
Whatever it was, Christmas cracked open the longing I still had to be a child: to be taken care of, to be safe, to have no concerns about the future.
On Christmas Eve, after everyone in the house had gone to bed, I tiptoed through the darkness and into the living room, where Dad left the Christmas tree lights on around the clock. The white lights spilled their soft glow around me as I sat on the carpeted floor and opened up my journal, knowing that something I couldn’t name was bubbling in my heart. And so I did the only thing I knew to do: journal about my emotions.
I put in my headphones and started my favorite Christmas album, and then I began to write. What came spilling out under those tiny beams of light was the longing that I held in my heart — the longing to know that what was ahead would be as safe and secure as what I had experienced as a child. I couldn’t see what was around the bend as a college student — I didn’t know how I would find a job or a calling or make a home somewhere new after graduation, but I still wanted to be taken care of.
I didn’t want to have so many concerns about the future.
And there, sitting by the Christmas tree in my childhood home, the words of an old hymn rang through my headphones, and God met me in my fear:
Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
I wept underneath the Christmas tree, awed by the gift that God was offering me — the gift of peace.
Yes, I might be leaving my childhood home after college, but through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, I had a heavenly home that would always be secure. I still didn’t know where the path ahead would lead, but I experienced the assurance of peace that night that only comes through the Holy Spirit — the knowing that what was ahead was even more secure and safe than what I had experienced as a child.
No matter what happened in the months and years ahead, Christ would go with me. He would take care of me. And as long as I went with Him, I didn’t need to fear the future, because Christ was already there.
That Christmas Eve, I was given the gift of peace. I walked away from the decorated tree that night without fear of what was ahead, trusting that while my childhood days were over, my days as a child of God would never, ever end.Leave a Comment