I don’t know about you, but there is something in my heart that wants to go home. If find that desire strange because I have a home and a family and a career I love. And yet there is this inkling in my heart that I am not at home and that all of these great things I love are just shadows pointing me to a home I once had and will one day get to go back to.
So lately I’ve been reflecting on the reality that after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph didn’t get to go home. Instead, they had to journey to Egypt.
In the Bible, Egypt symbolizes waiting, hardship and suffering. In Egypt, God’s people were foreigners in a strange land. They were slaves in need of salvation. They were expectant people, waiting for something to happen. They were hope-filled people longing for their own land.
In saying this, I am not suggesting that Mary, Joseph and Jesus experienced hardship and suffering while in Egypt. They very well may have been quite comfortable. We don’t really know. But we do know that Egypt wasn’t their home. So imagine the joy that must have filled their hearts when finally the angel delivered the good news. You can go home!
In many ways we are like Mary and Joseph. You see, when we believe in Jesus, he is born in our hearts. And almost immediately we realize we don’t get to go home right away. Instead, we must live for a while in Egypt, a place of waiting.
In other words, when we believe in Jesus, we become foreigners living in a strange country. Travelers looking forward to a better city whose designer and builder is God.
This doesn’t mean that this world suddenly becomes terrible. It just isn’t home anymore. Our home is with Jesus in the new heaven and earth he has promised. And so there are moments when we realize that we don’t really belong here. And, like Mary and Joseph, we long for an angel to come to us with the good news. You can go home!
Every New Year is another turning of the page. It is another mark on the calendar signifying that we are one step closer to life. Our homecoming is nearer now than it was the year before. Heaven is about to happen. We all stand tiptoe at the edge of eternity, ready to step into the home we once had and almost forgot that we lost. The welcome party is waiting to receive us. Our father is watching the distant horizon for us to appear. The good news has been sent to us. It is coming. And one day soon we will hear it. You can go home!!!!