Home for the Holidays

December 19, 2022

When I facilitate opening devotions with my SoCo Beach Project team, I use an opening question that everyone answers—and I do this with a variety of goals in mind. In this way, every voice is heard from the outset of the meeting.

The members learn more about each other, beyond just the business of the agenda. It offers a transitional space in which they are engaged to move them mentally into the meeting. And it gives them opportunity to practice talking about their faith in a conversational setting.

Opening Question: What is your most favourite room/spot in your home and why?

We downsized considerably when we sold our home in London, Ontario, and moved into our current condo in Port Dover. Thus, this question is a little hard to answer as the options are much more limited. But after some reflection, my favourite place is more about an experience. 

We have a light blue mid-century sofa that backs onto our front wall, sitting underneath our front window. Our front window is draped with voluminous sheers. I love sitting on that couch when our 20 lb pug-spaniel-beagle mix (imagine black spaniel), Pearl, jumps up on the couch to prop her front legs on the top edge of the couch’s seat, nuzzling her snout between a break in the sheers to poke her head out the front window.

I call this her “Nosey Nellie” posture – checking out the happenings of the condo complex. I love this spot because it usually means her warm furry body is snuggled up to my shoulder in order to get the best look-out position.

I find her warm body while I’m sitting on that couch such a comfort and joy…plus hilarious to look at!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…or as The Message translates this, the Word moved into the neighbourhood.

As we reflect on the birth of Christ, Mary and Joseph were far from home. Jesus literally landed in a space meant for sheep. And although home eventually meant Nazareth, he first took a trip with his parents to Egypt – well, a flight from Herod’s baby boy killing machine. Later in his ministry, he mentioned having no home at all.

The true marvel is that this God-with-us, Jesus, who spent parts of his human existence without his own home, is revealed in Revelation to be the one who brings home to us. Like a groom would prepare for a bride in Jesus’ context, he promises he is already preparing a room for us, our final and true place of home.

Let us celebrate the goodness of home, when it’s a gift. Let’s remember how some are homeless, or even if housed, it’s not a safe place.

And as we wait with Advent hope for Christ’s second return, we anticipate how he will bring to us the best home of all. And maybe a home that even has a place for a little black dog to jump on a couch, peek her head out the window, watching the neighbourhood in the new heavens and earth. Or so I hope!

Willemina Zwart is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church living in Port Dover, Ontario, with her husband, Kelly Sibthorpe and their puppy, Pearl. She is the missional pastor of the SoCo (South Coast) Beach Project, a four-month spring/summer discipleship and faith formation experience for young adults as they live in intentional Christian community while working summer jobs. She also works part-time as a Resonate Local Missional Leader.

Check in with us! “What is your favorite room/spot in your home? How does it anticipate your second advent hopes?

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