Tammy and I, along with our two boys, spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Tammy’s family. On Boxing Day, we traveled to my parents’ home to spend the rest of our Christmas vacation with my family. Yet, the homes to which we traveled were vastly different—At Tammy’s parents, we stayed at the house in which she was raised (she and I even shared her old bedroom while in town); at my parents’ house, we stayed in a town and in a house in which I have never lived.
In the summer of 2000, you see, Dad and Mom moved to a small Kentucky town to work with a congregation of the church. I’ve visited the house many times—both before and after my parents moved there, but that house has never been and is not “home.”
But, I went home for Christmas. No house is ever really “home.” Home has nothing to do with a place; home has everything to do with loved ones.
When we think of heaven as our eternal “home,” we think of gates of pearl, a street of gold, a beautiful river, the tree of life, and the mansion (really bad translation) Jesus is preparing. Heaven, though, will be the ultimate “home,” for God will be there with his people:
“We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6).
“My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Phil 1:23).
No mention of blessings, no mention of a great mansion, no mention of freedom from persecution—Paul wanted to be with the Lord.
“We will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17).
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21:3).
In the next sentence John enumerates blessings God will give—no more tears, the eradication of death, and the elimination of pain. However, those blessings only come because God is with his people.
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev 22:3-5).
Even the oft-mistranslated verse about “mansions” is all about being at home with the Father: “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2). In the days of Jesus, when a man married he built onto his father’s house and lived there; that’s the idea behind the “many rooms” of which our Lord speaks. One large family dwelling with one great Father.
What a marvelous blessing—in and of itself—when we are at home with God.