Homecomings are no small things. Often, they require persevering through struggle—old wounds, reminders, triggers to feeling safe, and a host of other reasons it can feel easier to stay away.
Entering this season of holidays seems like an appropriate time to contemplate homecomings. Long ago, the word holiday was written as two—holy day. It was a day of Sabbath, when work slowed or ceased; a day for communion with God and loved ones; a consecrated day, whole within itself. In some Christian traditions, the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day are the called Advent, a time of preparation. In recent years, I’ve come to hold these weeks as holy days—a time of waiting for the birth of the vulnerable, soft-skinned, tiny newborn self into the world and into our own hearts.
This time of expectant waiting for a season that beckons us to turn the usual of daily life and outlook upside down reminds me to return to the sacred, quiet home of my own heart and reflect. Time slows in these days as darkness encloses us in longer nights, more time for rest and restoration.
This year, I am easing back to a homecoming reunion with my body. It’s become a place I both know and do not recognize. So I am knocking softly at doorways to see if there is a way back to resting in my first and last home. During the past year, as the foundation I rested upon shifted and shifted again, I found that sharing my journey to the home of my heart with each of you reminded me that home really should be a place where truth can be shared and received with love. This year has been a homecoming back to my love of words and my belief that we all have something essential to share. This is the connection that a homecoming promises in both the best and hardest ways.
Perhaps you celebrate neither Advent nor Christmas. There are so many rich traditions to honor this time of year. Each of them unique yet inviting us to a reconnection and a homecoming with all that is holy both within and without. The end of the year grows close. We are living still with so many pandemics, our human frailties and failings laid bare. Aren’t we all longing for a world, this world, turned upside down?
What homecoming beckons you, friend? What truth is asking to be shared? What connection is waiting to be experienced?
It feels very important these days to honor connection and suspend the daily rush and onslaught that can leave us divided from our own body, from each other, from the great body of humanity and of the earth. It feels essential that we pause in these “holy days” for some necessary homecomings.
Friends, the theme of this month of December is “A Homecoming to Hope.” For these weeks, I’ll share moments that remind me to leave room for hope and practices that might give you pause to come home to a quiet place within, where hope can gestate.
Today I’ll end with a blessing taken from the writer and speaker, Kate Bowler:
blessed are we with eyes open to see
the suffering from pandemic danger,
sickness and loneliness, the injustice
of racial oppression, the unimpeded
greed and misuse of power, violence,
intimidation, and use of dominance
for its own sake, the mockery of
truth, and disdain for weakness or
vulnerability—and worse the seeming
powerlessness of anyone trying to
blessed are we who ask: where
are you God? and where are Your
people— the smart and sensible ones
who fight for good and have the
power to make it stick?
May we not grow weary on sustaining ourselves and each other.