A few weeks ago I wrote an exegesis paper on Exodus 16:2-16 for my Old Testament Interpretation class. In the passage, the Israelites have just escaped from slavery in Egypt and are beginning their journey in the wilderness. They are facing a season of living between promise and fulfillment. God has promised to lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey, but they have not yet arrived. The Israelites must figure out what it means to live in the “not yet.” This experience is not foreign to most of us. We often live in the wilderness, actively figuring out what it means to live day to day in a new reality as we wait for what is not yet.
This Christmas marks many firsts for me. It is the first Christmas Eve in five years I have not been directing a Christmas Pageant. It is my first Christmas with Richard and as a married woman. It is my first Christmas away from my mother, father, and brothers. And it is the first Christmas that I have felt like home is the place I will go back to after the holidays.
Although I have not lived with my parents full time in almost a decade, I have continued to call their house home. Since 2012 alone I have lived in five different cities. I have fond memories of each place. While living in these places I have learned, loved, and grown more than I knew was possible. But the past 4 1/2 years have been a wilderness of sorts, a time of discernment, a period of navigating the reality of day to day life and wondering about the future. Each home has been a “not quite yet.”
As Richard and I packed Polli, our Prius, and prepared to visit our families for the holidays, I realized I am living in the land flowing with milk and honey. This marriage, this home, these people, and this work no longer feel like the wilderness at all. I have arrived in a place God has been leading me. A place God has prepared me for. I am, for this season, home.
This Christmas will still be filled with love, family, food, light, and laughter. Perhaps even more than usual now that I get to celebrate with both my family and Richard’s. But this year, I will be home after Christmas. And I am grateful.
Photo Credit: Richard Allred