My military family moved fifteen times before I left for college. I have used Google Earth and driven by former homes to see what they look like. I find myself asking, “Was that house really that small? Did we really play in those swampy woods?” Home, for me, was the community of my immediate family, not the domicile where we resided. My parents’ love and support sustained me and helped me grow wherever we lived.
Jeremiah offers words of promise to an exiled remnant in Babylon. The remnant dreams of going home. But these dreams have been built on the memories of many who will not return. The people have been in exile for seventy years; two generations have already died. Those who came to Babylon are not the people who will “return.” They are sustained in their journey by God’s everlasting love. God assures them that their vulnerable members will not be left behind. They will be consoled, led to water, and provided with straight and level paths. Indeed, the blind, lame, children, and pregnant women will travel with ease.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are sustained by the love and grace of God that has come to us through Jesus Christ and the support of the Holy Spirit. Our home is the heart of God. In Jeremiah’s words to the exiled Israelites we find the promise of a way home out of whatever exile—self-inflicted or inflicted by others—we experience.
No matter what exile has left you vulnerable, defeated, and separated from what you love, God will embrace and sustain you with everlasting love, console you, and lead you home.
Lord, lead me in your love and righteousness. Make your way plain and bring me safely home. Amen.
Jeremiah delivers happy news, a promise from the Lord of a brighter future day. God will bring back the scattered peoples to their homeland, and their mourning will turn into joy. The psalmist encourages those in Jerusalem to praise God for all that God has done. God gives protection, peace, and the law to the children of Israel. The author of Ephesians encourages readers with confidence in God’s eternal plan. God’s will is to send Christ and adopt us into God’s family. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The opening to John helps us understand the eternal scope of God’s plan. From the beginning, the Word has been with God but then becomes flesh and lives among us to reveal divine glory.
Read Jeremiah 31:7-14. How do you continue to celebrate God’s goodness, even if the Christmas season has been difficult for you?
Read Psalm 147:12-20. What is your doxology—your command and faith claim—today?
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Consider the author’s question, Who makes up your family? Do you define your family by looking back to your heritage or looking forward to your legacy and future generations’ inheritance?
Read John 1:1-18. What does it mean for you that Jesus is cocreator in the beginning and takes on human life and suffering as Emmanuel?
Respond by posting a prayer.