12 Days of Christmas Journey: Day 12

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Christ revealed to me: a blessed reunion, a time of uniting.

It’s the green mile-marker signs on the highway that seem to tick by faster and faster when you drive across the country. It’s the little two-dimensional plane hovering above the Rockies on your personal TV monitor, moving a millimeter every half hour. It’s your purse, stuffed with every travel magazine you could find at the bookstore, that holds your brain fuel to pass the time on your twelve hour bus ride, crammed between an icy window and a man who seems to have a snoring problem.

Traveling home for Christmas always put an extra spring in my step on the last day of finals when I was at IU. The thought of speed walking through the Portland airport and then running outside to meet whoever was picking me up always made me a bit teary eyed on the journey across the western States.

Always traveling ...

Always traveling …

Going to school over 2,000 miles away from Portland made the times when I got to travel home extremely special. And because I had two homecomings each year, my return at Christmastime marked the beginning of two very precious weeks to spend with family and friends.

Now that I’ve graduated and moved back to Portland, I have found this week to be a little anticlimactic. I’m not rushing around town on Saturdays to the coffee shop, the French bistro and a Christmas play for three separate dates I’ve made with friends. It’s been a little more relaxed this Christmas, and finding home again in Portland has given me a new perspective.

Last night, I had the privilege of welcoming home someone who recently moved for a job in New England. She was always the one picking me up from the airport, waiting for me with an extra hot chai tea and the seat warmers turned on in the car. When I would spot her from inside the baggage claim, I would start my sprint to the doors (but be careful … last year I got so excited, I ran into the revolving door … Yeah, I’ll never live that one down).

Traveling on the train in New Jersey. What a great reunion that was!

Traveling on the train in New Jersey. What a great reunion that was!

Now, it was my turn to do the same for her – to be her welcoming committee, throwing my arms around her in a big hug and saying, “I’m so glad you’re home. This is right where you belong.”

It was this reunion last night that reminded me of the Joy of returning home – the Joy of meeting someone who cares for you, who has been waiting for your arrival.

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That’s the Joy that God experiences when we decide to give our hearts to Him and declare Him as our Father. He’s been waiting for us and He wants so badly to wrap His loving arms around us and celebrate our return, our union with our Creator.

For God loves you so much that He sent His one and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

That’s the Joy of Christmas. It’s the Joy of knowing that you have a Father who is so crazy about you that He sent His son to die for your sins – to die for you, no matter what poor choices you’ve made, no matter how many times you’ve wandered away and felt like you can never turn back.

But you can come back. You can always come back.

This Christmas, it’s the Joy of the reunion with our Father that overwhelms the happiness that any gift could ever elicit. It’s the Joy of our Lord that is the reason why we celebrate Christmas – not because of Santa, or presents, or yule logs and stockings – it’s because of Jesus.

** This was my last stop of my 12 Days of Christmas Journey. I hope that you, too, find Joy this Christmas season and that it doesn’t end here, but continues throughout every day for the rest of your life. **

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