A Place Setting
Ooh, we're just a few days away from Christmas, y'all!
The air is chilled...
The streets are busy...
The music is playing...
And you've taken a few minutes to spend time with me?!
I feel honored! So come on in!
That candle you're smelling? Oh, it's Frosted Cranberry, my favorite!
Go ahead, have your pick between the navy blue sofa or the cream loveseat. Don't worry, both are deep-seated. That's a must around here. So get comfy, grab a cozy blanket if you want, and let's keep this home for the holidays love going.
Before we settle in - if you haven't read Part 1 or 2 or 3, I'd encourage you to give those a quick read. It was all about baking and seasons and colorful lights and farms and trees from Home Depot. Yeah, that's really in there. And how it all leads us to Jesus. Not even kidding. Again, it's worth the read.
Seriously, I might be biased but I think it's like opening a present. You don't just have one or two waiting for you - you have three!
And now, we're realizing the reason we are obsessed with the concept of home for the holidays is because deep down - deep, deep down - we long for love, joy, hope and peace that this world can't give.
We long for home because we long for Him. We're created with this longing. It's natural. It's ordained. It's part of us. It's actually written on our hearts.
So cool, huh?!
In our time leading up to Christmas, we see how even the trees and decorations and lights that are brought into our homes - the things we prep, primp, purchase and place in our homes - draw us to something greater.
A Special, Unspoken Right
The fireplace is usually seen as the center of the home, but I disagree. I think the heart of the home is the kitchen. It is for our family, at least.
It's where we sit down in the morning or after a long day to be nourished.
Your pre-teen child may write a "No Trespassing" or a "No Girls Allowed" sign to hang on their bedroom door, but you never see this as you enter the kitchen.
Everyone is welcome.
And I mean everyone. Family knows this. There's an unspoken rule that one of my pastors mentioned once that I dare say is prevalent in all of our homes. It's a rule we don't talk about, but it's there. It's a rule that is conditional on who you are.
It's a little thing that turns out to be a big thing called fridge rights. You know what I'm talking about. Rights to the fridge and everything in it.
At someone else's house, we practice manners. We wait patiently for them to offer us a glass of water or a snack.
But at home, manners such as these go flying out the window. It's like the Olive Garden - when you're here, you're family!
I can be kind of silly sometimes and repeat tag lines like this randomly. I don't think it's near as funny as my friends do because in my head I sound just like the commercial. I truly think, "Gosh, I nailed it!"
They tell me otherwise.
Apparently, I sound more like a Bostonian living in New Jersey. But ask me to speak in a Northeastern accent any other time and I got nothin'.
But yes, manners out the window. Whether our own home or the home of a close family member, we walk in, drop our things, and bee-line for the refrigerator. We open the door and do a quick scan of all the choices.
Almond milk, La Croix (my sister calls La Crud, just means that one's safe when she comes over), cranberry juice, strawberries, peaches, sandwich stuff, kale and cranberry salad, veggies. These are the typical items.
Every once in a while I'll throw ya a curveball and there will be Gatorade in there. But you have to look in the back. You gotta really want it in order to get it.
Need some ranch or bbq sauce? Maybe a pickle? No need to ask. Just walk yourself to the fridge and help yourself! Same for the blueberry or pumpkin muffins on the island. It's as if they were baked with you in mind.
Don't mind if I do!
So yes, having fridge rights is a beautiful thing. It's great for our thirst and hunger but it's also great for us in other ways.
We long to belong. Having fridge rights mean we're in. We don't have to dress nice or say the right words.
Nah, we're in ...because of the relationship we have with the owner of the fridge.
This reminds me of another Christmas decoration that I like.
It's the Christmas dishes.
Some may have the classic dishes with Christmas drawings, while others have modern designs that say "Merry" three times. It may be plastic or fine china. It doesn't matter.
The thing I like about Christmas dishes is when you walk in and grab a plate or find a seat, it means you have a place.
And that's the whole meaning of Christmas.
It's not the packages, glitter, and bows. It's not the movie marathons and sing-along carols. It's not the money spent or Secret Santa gifts exchanged. That's all fun, and there's nothing wrong with having fun!
But the meaning of Christmas - the reason we celebrate - is because of the gift of Jesus.
Before Jesus, the law had the final word. With sin and evil rampant in our world, we had to work to be good and sacrifice and live according to the law.
God didn't have to send Jesus. He didn't need us. But, He wanted relationship with us, so He sent His only Son and named Him, Immanuel, or God with us.
Although one with God, Jesus lived as man and knew our pain and suffering. He committed no sin yet died a criminals death on a cross. Why? So you and I could belong and live with Him for eternity.
When we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, we get a place setting in heaven. We belong! We get fridge rights, y'all!
We didn't have to dress up or try to earn this. No, we get fridge rights because of our relationship with the owner of the fridge - because of our relationship with Jesus.
And, we don't have to wait until heaven to enjoy the abundance of His love and generosity. Jesus came so we can have life to the full!
Jesus tells us,
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:9-10
We don't have to wait until heaven to enjoy this privilege. He came so we can have life to the full here and now - full of fridge rights, if you will. Because Jesus died and rose again, the fullness is here. Here right now! Jesus is alive!
This means even in the darkest nights and seasons of long-suffering, we can experience the fullness of His presence - the fullness of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
Why such a great, unattainable gift?
Because of Love.
So as we prepare meals and gather together in our homes this Christmas, let's remember the gift of Jesus. We live here on earth temporarily, but we belong with Him in heaven for eternity.
It's written on our hearts.
Let us find strength in knowing Jesus came to earth with us on His mind and heart. We can relate to Him on a vey personal level because He became man - one of us. Let us find joy in the fullness of the gift of unconditional and undeserved love and peace in the presence of Jesus - where we belong. Let us find rest in the promise of unending days spent with Him and life to the full here on earth until we get there.
Yes, my friend, let us experience home for the holidays this Christmas - the home our souls long for.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!