One of my favorite Christmas songs is “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me”. It was recorded by Bing Crosby during war times and was intended to express the feelings of the soldiers who were far from home at Christmas and also to encourage those at home in realizing that their loved one was thinking about them, as they were thinking of the soldier.
Often, by the end of the song, I have misty eyes as I remember Christmas times in the past when things were easier, when loved ones were still with us, when the children were young. All the fondness from memories of years past comes crashing in especially when I have been away from home at Christmas time.
While this is an awesome concept and many of us do return to our natal homes for the holiday, it really has no application to Christmas for the Christian. It sounds great in Hallmark movies or as sentiment in a song, but do you really think that Jesus was anxious to return to the manger to celebrate his birthday? Scripture says:
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Even during His ministry, Jesus did not have his own place to live. Scripture gives this statement from our Lord:
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Of course, the reality is that Jesus did have a “home”. Three of the disciples saw a bit of Jesus’ nature from His “home” at the transfiguration.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. … He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.
Matthew 17:1-2, 5-6.
Paul tells of it like this:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul is telling us that Jesus did not hang on to his position in Heaven, but He willingly took human form as a baby. This does not mean that He no longer was part of the Trinity that existed before there was any created order. (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-2; 11:3) He was both God and man, a mystery that we cannot fully comprehend but we accept through faith. He came from Heaven and, after His resurrection and further ministry on earth, He returned to His Father in Heaven. Acts 1:11.
What does this have to do with the believers’ home? Paul specifically states in Philippians 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven”. The note on this verse in the Reformation Study Bible says:
Just as Philippi was a Roman colony (Acts 16:12), the church is a colony of heaven. Although presently at a great distance, physically speaking, from the heavenly “city” where the redeemed can see the Lord reigning over all creation in glory, the followers of Jesus already belong to that city, which defines their identity and eternal privileges.
The song “I’ll be home for Christmas” relates to our physical home here on this planet. But, for the believers in Jesus Christ, we may live on earth, but our citizenship is in Heaven where we will live eternally with our Lord.
Here is the song as sung by Frank Sinatra on the album Christmas With The Rat Pack.
So, I challenge you to think about your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ each time you hear “I’ll be home for Christmas” this Christmas season. Think about the glories that are yours through His sacrifice and reflect on your assurance that Heaven is where your citizenship lies.
Father, I thank You for sending Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ, to this earth as a little baby that we celebrate this season. I pray that I would not forget His coming in all the parties, dinners, activities of the season, and I pray that I would remember that my home is in Heaven, where my citizenship has been guaranteed by my Savior and His Spirit.