James W. Moore wrote about
remembering the reason for the season:
There was a particular program that
is something of a parable for the way we sometimes celebrate
Christmas. A group of people in Ohio decided to give a man a
surprise birthday party. They got together and organized the party
in great detail. They set up several committees to take care of the
arrangements for food and entertainment and decorations and all the
There was a great hustle and bustle
of excitement and busyness as they made ready for the big event.
Finally, the evening of the party arrived and all was in readiness,
the hall was rented, the decorations were in place and they were
terrific, the food was prepared, and it looked sumptuous. The
entertainment was rehearsed and ready. The friends were all gathered
and excited. The lights and sound were set to perfection.
Then suddenly, they realized
something. Everything had been taken care of in splendid fashion
except one thing. They had quite simply forgotten the single most
important thing. They had forgotten to invite the guest of honor, so
they had the party without him.
The man’s secret was that he had not been invited to his own birthday
party. Moore observed, “There’s a sermon there somewhere!”
In a very real sense, none of us are
home for Christmas tonight. Because being home for Christmas, in the
truest sense, would mean that we were with the One who loves us more
than our imagination will allow us to understand. Fred Craddock has
compared our earthly life to the nomadic experience of living in a
tent. It’s just temporary. We’re all just passing through on the
way to our true home.
But even more than all that,
Christmas is not just about Mary and Joseph coming home to Bethlehem
and finding no room. It’s not even about our own desire for
homecoming. It’s about God coming home. We couldn’t go to God,
so God came to us. When we hear, "I’ll be home for
Christmas," we hear Bing Crosby or whatever contemporary artist
has done the song so well that it stands out in our memory. When
Luke hears the song, it is God who is singing (“God Will Be Home
for Christmas” – Johnny Dean (1999).