Every year, schools all over the country celebrate “homecoming.” I can honestly say that while I have attended several of my college homecoming festivities (we live in the same town, after all), I have not attended my high school’s celebrations since I graduated. I could easily blame the confusion around St. Charles High School becoming St. Charles East and a new high school being added – St. Charles North (who came up with the idea of East and North as the differentiators anyway? Why not East and West or North and South or even St. Charles Orange and St. Charles Black (reminiscent of the brief flirtation with Superman Red and Superman Blue that DC comics has had)?), but that wouldn’t really be accurate.
The truth is that a homecoming is when you come back to a place where you feel you belong. I graduated at the age of 16 from a high school where I never really fit in to begin with. I went away to a college (of my choosing) six hundred miles, two states, and one gigantic cultural leap away because I wanted to get away from everything. Within two years I was spending breaks away from there and within three I was staying there for the summer. I had moved on, and my “home” (family, friends, hometown) were left behind.
I found a wonderful woman to marry, and this necessitated returning home with her to introduce her to the family. Being reintroduced to my former surroundings helped give me a new appreciation for the good parts and also helped remind me of the reasons I wanted to leave in the first place. Since then, my family has made it a point to get together once or twice a year every year even though we are scattered (my 5 siblings and I live in 6 different states that aren’t even all contiguous).
Why did I even write this? Well, every year the small congregation where I attend holds a homecoming and this year it happened yesterday. The usual crowd of 30-40 swells to double or triple its normal size (it has on a few occasions topped 100). People come from far and wide to “come home” to a place they felt like they belonged.
This is all a shadow of our ultimate homecoming. At the end of our lives, we our bodies will return to the dust and our spirits will return to God who gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7). On that day, we will all ultimately end up going to a permanent home of our own choosing, based on the deeds we have done (Revelation 20:11-15, Matthew 25:31-46). What kind of home are you preparing for yourself in that homecoming?