Tag Archives: Home

Advent 2013: The Way Home

This post is part of The December Synchroblog and part of Christine Sine’s annual Advent synchroblog, both of which invite bloggers to reflect on the idea of “coming home” and what that means to them during the season of Advent. The bloggers who participate will be listed at the bottom of this post for you as they become available. 

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The word “home” brings to mind a feeling that is hard to describe … it has to do with belonging and being loved and relaxed and letting one’s guard down and feeling safe. Sometimes home is found in a particular place such as a state or a city or a house, and other times it is found in the company of others or in a particular activity such as painting or riding a horse.

When my son comes home from college and we give each other a great big hug that lasts 10 or 15 seconds I get the feeling that I’ve found my way home. At times I experience that “coming home” feeling when I realize that someone “gets me”.  Other times I feel like I am home when I hear a particular song or am in the process of creating or when I’m hanging out with friends.  And sometimes I find my way home in a simple act of giving or listening or helping.

Whether the feeling of home is brought about by people, places or activities it is a blessing that is like a deep, refreshing breath for our souls … it feels right and there is a lightness that occurs within.

Thinking about the holidays and home reminds me of the sermon “Are You Going Home For Christmas?” by Frederick Buechner in which he talks about what it means to be truly home.

“I receive maybe three or four hundred letters a year from strangers who tell me that the books I have spent the better part of my life writing have one way or another saved their lives, in some cases literally. I am deeply embarrassed by such letters. I think, if they only knew that I am a person more often than not just as lost in the woods as they are, just as full of darkness, in just as desperate need. I think, if I only knew how to save my own life. They write to me as if I am a saint, and I wonder how I can make clear to them how wrong they are.

But what I am beginning to discover is that, in spite of all that, there is a sense in which they are also right. In my books, and sometimes even in real life, I have it in me at my best to be a saint to other people, and by saint I mean life-giver, someone who is able to bear to others something of the Holy Spirit, whom the creeds describe as the Lord and Giver of Life. Sometimes, by the grace of God, I have it in me to be Christ to other people. And so, of course, have we all-the life-giving, life-saving, and healing power to be saints, to be Christs, maybe at rare moments even to ourselves.

I believe that it is when that power is alive in me and through me that I come closest to being truly home, come closest to finding or being found by that holiness that I may have glimpsed in the charity and justice and order and peace of other homes I have known, but that in its fullness was always missing. I cannot claim that I have found the home I long for every day of my life, not by a long shot, but I believe that in my heart I have found, and have maybe always known, the way that leads to it … I believe that home is Christ’s kingdom, which exists both within us and among us as we wend our prodigal ways through the world in search of it.”

May we all find our way home during this season of Advent by spreading love and kindness wherever we go.

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Epiphany: Blessing of the home.

Tomorrow is officially Epiphany (although some will celebrate on Sunday). Do you celebrate Epiphany? If so, how? If not, you may want to consider starting the tradition “Blessing of the home”. There is more than one way to perform the tradition.  Here is one way that I like:

Have some incense burning, a sprig from a bush, some water, and divide a cake into as many pieces as you have participants. Hide a coin or dry bean in one piece and distribute them at random. Whoever gets the special piece of cake with the bean/coin in it is crowned (paper crown or party hat), robed (bathrobe), saluted (noisemakers left over from New Year’s), and toasted (hot apple cider or whatever…)! The new royalty now writes with chalk over the front door of your home the following:

20+ C + M + B + 12

The numbers represent the new year. The four crosses are the four seasons. C-M-B are the initials of the legendary names of the magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Or another explanation that I actually like better is that C-M-B stands for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “May Christ bless this dwelling place”.

Now, say a simple blessing such as:

Dear God,
we thank you for this past year
and for the year to come.

Be with us as we fill our home with kindness,
hospitality, and caring for others.

Help us to dream the dream of a better world
and to work towards that dream daily.

Hold us close to each other.
Keep us close in spirit with those who have died or who are far away.

May all who come to our home this year
rejoice to find Christ living among us;
and may we seek and serve,
in everyone we meet,
Jesus who is Lord for ever and ever.

Bless us as we burn this incense.
Bless us as we use this chalk to mark our door.
Bless us as we sprinkle our home with this water.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Now, everyone moves from room to room sprinkling the home with water, a sign of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.

If you have a group that likes to sing try singing some Epiphany songs such as “We Three Kings” or “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

When done with all the rooms, say the Lord’s Prayer, and finish with exchanging the sign of peace.