“When something hits close to home, it affects us deeply. During the Advent and Christmas season, we journey through scriptures and rituals that are tender, heavy with emotion, and vulnerable. We carry the memories and truths of this season close to our hearts." Close to Home acknowledges the “already but not yet” tension of our faith: Emmanuel is with us, and yet, God’s promised day—our everlasting home—is not fully realized. It names our deep longing for God to come close to us.
The Advent and Christmas scriptures are rich with home metaphors and imagery. John the Baptist prophesies about the One who is to come, but reminds us that we are still wandering far from God’s promised day; his message hits close to home, especially for those experiencing inequity and oppression. After receiving the angel’s news, Mary retreats to Elizabeth’s home, seeking refuge and safety. Christ is born in the midst of a journey home, in a crowded dwelling amidst livestock and shepherds alike. The Magi travel far from home to pay homage to Christ, and, having been warned in a dream, they avoid Herod by traveling home another way. In these scriptures, home is both physical and metaphorical, something we seek and something we are called to build. Ultimately, God is our home and resting place. God draws near and makes a home on earth—sacred ground is all around us.” (from A Sanctified Art, the provider of our themed materials this Advent season).
We at First Presbyterian Church will spend the weeks leading up to Christmas hearing familiar stories and prophecies that call us back to that deep longing we have for our true home, in God. Having returned to in-person worship, we will light the Advent candles together, sing the familiar (and new) hymns that speak to our longing for Emmanuel, and finally, on Christmas Eve, share in a candlelight service as Christ is born into our world and we find ourselves home once again.
Please take the time to look over this month’s calendar and find ways to connect with us once again.
You are loved and you are welcome to a home with us this Christmas.