Home for Christmas—Our True Homeland 

Home for Christmas—Our True Homeland

Hugo of St. Victor, a 12th century French theologian, wrote that “The person who finds their homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; the one to whom every soil is their native one is already strong; but that one is perfect to whom the entire world is a foreign place.”

What did he mean to suggest that the world is a foreign place? Certainly not that we should despise our lives, our relationships, our environment, dreaming of an escape to an alternate universe. Earth’s the right place for love, Robert Frost observed. I don’t know where it’s likely
to go better.
Jesus surely agreed, having gone to such efforts to love the world in so many expressions, including with his very life.

Advent, the season, helps us here. We call it the already-not-yet season, during which on the one hand we give thanks for the relationship with Christ we have known personally and in our life together; and on the other, we yearn for the full revealing of God’s loving purposes in the coming of Christ in the fulfillment of history. Christ is already among us; and not yet fully with us in glory.

Our lives “between the times” have us embracing earth as “the right place for love”; and also, with Hugo, feeling a certain sense of holy fidgeting. Not all is right with the world; some are hurting; some are missing; some are suffering; some are not healed. Sins and sorrows grow; and thorns still infest the ground. All the more reason to lend our hearts and hands to the work of love in hopes of a new creation, the Christ of Bethlehem being the most promising sign that such is underway.

In the messy and mucky order of things just now, I invite you to become an already-not-yet people; to faithfully fidget with the uncomfortableness of it all, longing for a better world; and then to proceed from there to fall right into the work of love that has us placing our best selves right in the middle of it all, bearing witness to the world that Christ has already made a home in our hearts.

Grace and Peace,