Longing for Home


“Amidst all the busyness and to-dos, my heart leans toward simple togetherness.”

By Angela Doell | Twitter: @adoell

Christmas is days away and I’m longing for home.

It’s December and my soul sings a little on those rare evenings when our whole family gathers under one roof.  Two extra-tall teenagers and their equally tall parents sharing a loveseat and a couch, snuggled in to watch a Christmas movie.

Amidst all the busyness and to-dos, my heart leans toward simple togetherness. It’s extra delicious because these children of ours suddenly have lives and plans of their own, and my need to gather them under my wings has intensified.

We’re about to tie a bow on an immense year that’s personally forced me to grow and stretch madly, a year that’s often felt lonely. My one word heading into 2012 was STAND–and I’ve been standing, girlfriend–for 12 solid months. But now that it’s Christmas, I want to surround myself with everyone I love, hunker down and, perhaps, curl up for a short winter’s nap.

I found myself taking a detour this week while driving in the rain, going out of my way to circle the cul-de-sac where I lived as a child. I slowed down to peek in windows of the strangers who now live there. I remember how our Christmas tree once shone in the bay window out front, how my now-husband helped Dad hang lights outside, the year I was 17 and we were first dating. It’s home and yet it’s not.

I’m sappy and extra sentimental this year–but there’s this craving for home, for gathering and communion–that I can’t shake.

Creatures are not born for desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. – C.S. Lewis

I consider how God came to be with us–how God left perfection in Heaven to enter our mess, to be where we are. And I imagine how I’d do the same in a breath for my children; actually, I just want to be near to them, and especially in these dark winter nights.

I want to be surrounded by those I love and those who love me back, and, ultimately, this heart of mine is longing for my eternal home and my Father, the one who loves me best. 

This craving isn’t unique to me: all of humanity and creation itself seems to cry out for the warmth and light of our true homeland. One of my favourite quotes is from Charles Parkhurst, who said, “Home interprets heaven. It’s heaven for beginners.” 

Mother Teresa delivered this version of the prayer of St. Francis to the UN in 1985. I came across it this week and I’m praying it as I journey toward Home, and as I seek to become Home for my family and those whom I connect with this Christmas:

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.


About Angela:

Angela and her husband Rod have been married for 18 years and they have two children, Madison (16) and Miller (13). Angela serves as a pastor at Relate Church in Surrey, BC. She loves finding beauty in everyday life and is passionate about communicating the grace, hope and reality of a living Jesus.