Maybe Next Year…

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again,
and Father,
I want to go home.

But I can’t seem to find my way there.

I’m hurting, displaced, and alone. I feel disconnected from everything. There is nothing for me here, and I feel it most keenly when the doors are wreathed in ever, ever green and little yellow flames flicker in every window like guiding stars, each one smiling, singing, “home for the holidays,” with the round, warm tone of an all boys choir.

Hallelujah, come home.

The Target commercial snapshots of snow peppered hair and warm, eager hands peeling away layers of coats and scarves and oh never mind just let me hold you. The remnants of ice melt to clear pinhead droplets in the heat of hot coca and crackling hearths.

Ruby red holly berries click, click, click, there’s no place like home.

But I am of the eternal diaspora. One of many wandering children dwelling in tents in this vast wilderness. Home is a memory that I can’t remember. Rust and decay have eaten away at its core and corrupted its foundations.
Its scent is alluring.
But it is toxic wine.

I remember the years when it was eternity that seemed too long and too large to feel safe. I imagined heaven full of cartoon clouds and harps. A bland expanse of empty white. And this time of year was a reminder of what would be lost in translation. The pop of red in a sea of ever living green. The flash and twinkle of friendly lights wrapped lovingly around the naked branches of a leafless tree. Silver paper. Blue bows. Mistletoe. I did not think of you then as He who made the evergreen, the mountain stream, and the fragile beauty of the butterfly.

You were lion alone then and not lamb. Not the submissive lover who laid himself out willingly upon a table of stone where his life became a feast, prepared by the fire of wrath that belonged to me.

I still view you as lion, as Aslan, not safe yet still my safety. And my haven, my home is the abundant land that begins with the sight of your face. There, because of your grace, is my homecoming. The ashes of this vain and burning world will flake off when the wind and water of the Spirit divests me of these ragged, torn garments and wrap me in the eternal righteousness of Christ. The sunless glow of eternal holy light calls across the tears and will warm my cold, dry bones. I’ll drink from the healing stream that ripples in clear rainbows from your throne.

One sight of your face, Abba, will bind up the wounds that this loveless world has torn through my flesh.

Till then, ageless, endless, perfect lover, stanch my flow of blood with the balm of hope.

O Father, Papa, I want to go home, but home is too far to drive.

So I’ll gift my tears to my pillow once again this year. I’ll reach for your hand through this vast twinkling golden white cold that stretches from Thanksgiving to New Years. And maybe this year I can’t touch your fingers, and maybe this year I can’t taste your love, but I’ll feast on the hope that you’ve left behind.

And maybe next year we’ll finally be together.

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