While in seminary I was introduced to a writer/theologian that had a major impact on me then and still does today. In fact, when I am stumped working on a sermon or a lesson, I will often pick up one of Frederick Buechener’s book to get some inspiration or thought that will un-stump me.
Before Buechner became a writer/theologian/preacher, he was barely a church go-er. But all that changed one winter when he was a single, 27-year-old struggling writer living in New York city. He was failing at writing his novel, getting rejected again and again by his publisher.
It was mid-December, and while the rest of the city was filled with excitement and joy during the Christmas season. Buechner felt more alone and depressed than ever before. One Sunday, he decided to visit the church that was close to where he lived. And his life was changed…
In his sermon, the preacher said that someone asked him after church the week before if he were going home for Christmas. He looked up at the congregation and asked it again, “Are you going home for Christmas?” Buechner remembers. “He asked in a way that brought tears to my eyes and made it almost unnecessary for him to move on to his answer to the question, which was that home, finally, is the Manger in Bethlehem, the place where at midnight even the oxen kneel. Home is where Christ is…that the home we long for and belong to is finally where Christ is…”
Welcome Home. It is here that something holy and life-transforming took place. Here in Bethlehem. Here in a stable where Christ the Savior is born. And here something took place that will give meaning and purpose to your life.
Welcome Home. Home to where Christ is. Regardless of where you come from know that home, your real home is here at the manger. This is your home, where you are always accepted, loved, forgiven and never forgotten.
So, on behalf of the Lord of the universe, I say to you, “Welcome Home….”