The Journey of our Longing

December 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow our daughters leave Pensacola, Florida, where they attend college, for Baltimore, Maryland, where we live. It will be a fourteen-hour drive. They will embark in the early hours of the morning in order to travel into, and remain in the light throughout the trip. Needless to say, we can’t wait for their arrival.

They will pass through up to nine states in making their way home. As someone who loves long driving trips I am excited for them. They will experience the changes in topography that come with each new state, while enjoying conversation that rarely transpires apart from such uninterrupted portions of time together. They will feel the gradual drop in temperature as they move northeast, and maybe even encounter a few flurries here and there. They will remember this trip for the rest of their lives.

It is virtually impossible to go through a Christmas Season without seeing images of Joseph along with Mary who is perched atop a donkey as they make their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Traveling those many miles wasn’t as easy as loading up the SUV and driving off. And I would imagine that for a teenager, pregnant in her third trimester, riding a beast was no picnic either.

As a dad I will not be short on anxiety. Our girls will be on the road – the big road – lots of big roads – without us! I’m not so worried about them, but everyone else they will encounter (and therefore them!). That’s my job and I embrace it without apology. We will call them and pray throughout the day as they make their way home.

In thinking of their drive it occurred to me that Advent brings with its hopefulness, the daily perils of the journey. While we long for Jesus, we travel through the complexities of human brokenness, our own and the world’s. There is something to this. It isn’t so much that every aspiration comes with requisite danger, but that in longing for Jesus we understand the big picture – it is always about the destination, and while we encounter the daily perils and pitfalls of human existence, it is all framed within the larger narrative – that we are making our way Home.

Ironically, from the moment He was born, Jesus began to make His way home as well. And I am convinced that His words in John 14 (In my Father’s house…) are more than theological ruminations, but also the humble disclosures of a homesick Son. Amazingly and beautifully, the path to His destination would take Him to the Cross, and on a more personal level, our Redemption.

Our girls have a big journey ahead of them – but then they will be home.

So will we…

Such sweet, good news.

peace.

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