The Joy of Going Home
Psa. 122:1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, O Jerusalem.
People would anticipate their journey to Jerusalem for months or even years. Depending on where they lived, they would journey for days to get there. The final climb to Jerusalem took energy and they sang the Psalms of ascent along the way. This Psalm, however, was written for that moment when you passed through the gate and found yourself standing within the walls of Jerusalem. The climb was over, your feet were now solidly within the gates of the city, and it was time to go to the temple.
The reality was that the trip to Jerusalem was exciting, but entering the house of the Lord, that was the heart of the entire journey. They rejoiced when they understood that they had arrived and could now go to the house of the LORD. They were ready to abide in the LORD’s holy presence, to pray, meditate and bring sacrifices.
Going home, or the idea of finding home, for a third culture kid can sometimes be difficult. In my early years I was raised in Germany and then we moved to the United States. However, some of my fondest memories of Christmas have come from the years in Germany.
After my parents retired they returned to Germany to once again pastor the original congregation they started many years before. It was at that time that our family was serving in the former Soviet Union. I will never forget the anticipation — because my parents had invited us to come “home” to Germany for Christmas. They were living in the same parsonage where I had lived as a little girl. I couldn’t wait for my family to get to experience what it was like to celebrate the way that we had when I was little. We packed our bags and flew to Frankfurt — and then settled into the old house. It was absolutely amazing and my heart was filled with such joy.
The joy didn’t end with the house, but it continued through all the activities in which we engaged. I was waiting for that moment when we would go to church on Christmas eve and participate in the service. It was the same church building, and there we lit the candles as we sang songs celebrating the arrival of our Savior.
The joy of that experience is nothing compared to the joy of abiding with our Lord. While the people of David’s day had to travel to Jerusalem, we are invited directly into the presence of our Lord. It was in their Jerusalem that they experienced the joy of the Lord, unity as God’s children and spent time in prayer. We are called to do the same. Even today we are invited to go home into the Lord’s presence. Our hearts are to be filled with that joyful anticipation of being with the LORD! It is in that place that we are united together with our sisters and brothers in the faith as we spend time in prayer. We are shaped by our Jerusalem when we make time to go home!
Lord, thank you for time in Jerusalem. Amen.
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