Advent means coming, and the season beckons us towards three comings that should inspire and renew us as we move towards December 1st which is the first day of Advent
The first is the remembrance of Jesus coming in the flesh, an infant whose birth captivates our hearts yet makes few, if any demands on our souls. For many the story is nothing more than a children’s story, a soothing tale that is little more than an add on to the secular celebration of consumption and overindulgence.
The second coming to which Advent calls our attention is the coming of the presence of God which makes Jesus present in our own lives today.
The final coming to which Advent points us is the coming of Christ at the end of time. This is a deep longing that whets our souls for the coming in all its fullness of the eternal world of God for which we should strive with every breath.
Our theme for Advent this year has really grabbed my attention, bringing with it longings for home and as preparation for the season I wanted to share with you some of the quotes and images it has stirred.
Yesterday I met with Ryan Marsh who will host a series of podcasts with me to kick off each week of Advent. Both of us shared our own longings for home and for the fulfillment of God’s eternal world. I hope that you will take time to think about this as you reflect on the following home coming images.
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First I love this this introduction from the movie Patch Adams All of Life is a Coming Home
And here is a beautiful story about an old man longing for home
I can’t get the island ( Great Blasket) out of my mind,” says Dr Mike Carney, with the strong accent of a man who grew up speaking only Gaelic and who has never let the language go. “I dream about the island at night. I dream about the way it was when we were young.” Such dreams of home are powerful. So many of us long for the place where we laughed and played with childhood friends and life was easier, simpler. Better. One of my own neighbours in London dreams of the Welsh valleys, another of the hills of Kashmir, a third of Jamaican sunshine. The world is full of exiles, although few of them ever make it home.
Read the story: The Last Islandman
And some of my favourite quotes about coming home.
“The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.”
― Frederick Buechner
Today the heart of God is an open wound of love…. He longs for our presence. And he is inviting you-and me- to come home, to come home to where we belong, to come home to that for which we were created. His arms are stretched out wide to receive us. His heart is enlarged to take us in…. He invites us into the bedroom of his rest, where new peace is found and where we can be naked and vulnerable and free. It is also the place of deepest intimacy, where we know and are known to the fullest.
Richard Foster Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
When we come home to the love of God everything changes, beginning with how we pray. Prayer is now at its foundation a contemplative soaking in the infinite love of God. All our intercessions and thanksgivings and wordless cries now issue from the molten core of contemplative prayer. Prayer has become the vital breath the heartbeat of divine energy without which we cannot live. (Elaine Heath The Mystic Way of Evangelism, 82)
I hope that you will take time to reflect on these images of coming home and ask yourself the question: What homecoming am I longing for as I think about the coming of Jesus this year?