Does your Father Have To Die for You to Visit Him? Do not watch this video! Unless, that is, you have armbands on and are ready to swim your way to safety through a pool of your own tears. But once you have watched the video and stopped crying long enough to read clearly, there are a few things we can take away from this ad.
The video shows the sadness of a father, who is also a grandpa, whose children apologize to him each year that they cannot make it to his house to celebrate Christmas with him. One year, they receive the tragic news that their father has died. However, the real tragedy is of course, that he has arranged this news in order that his children will finally come together as a family. He is very much alive and waiting for them when they get to his house. Their sorrow turns to joy as he welcomes them home.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?! Maybe not in your own family life, but in your faith?! How often are we like the adult children in this video, putting God off until next year, until a better moment, until we are ready, perfect, or bothered enough to come to Him? Big or small, it doesn’t matter the varying degrees of how much we put God off for later, we can always do more just to be with Him. For have you ever realized that God misses you? That God wants you back, wants you home? Not in a controlling, guilt-tripping way (and believe me, this is a challenge of a lifetime to know that God loves us in a way that means freedom). He wants you back in the way that you long to see a friend, the way that you long to see your own children when you miss them and they’ve been away a while. God misses you to the extent that His home is in you as yours is in Him- and home means nothing without the both of you there together.
Prayer can seem the least productive part of our day, especially when there doesn’t appear to be an obvious gain from it. It is so hard to simply stop when we are busy or always accustomed to doing things with a tangible profit from them. Prayer isn’t productive in a worldly sense; it is not tradable or lucrative in that way. But it is a relationship and a real one at that. Prayer is how we come home and spend time with our father, our papa, our daddy! The song in the background of this advert says, ‘Home means nothing without you’ . Without God, our lives are restless and hollow. Yet we are made to be the home of God Himself. If we are not present in this home that is ourselves, then where is the home for God?
“Abide in me, and I in you.” John 15:4
I often pray that God will never let me forget that no matter how exciting and wonderful the amazing things of life can be (and indeed, the temptations of sin) that I will always remember that nothing is, or feels, as good as the peace of being right with God. Each transgression, each sin and each absent moment is always an opportunity to become like the Prodigal Son and make the grace-filled journey home. Whether it is a long trek or a few steps for you, ask yourself this Advent- how can I come home for Christmas? For remember, the Father’s table is always set. He is always ready to welcome us home; no matter how late we may feel to the party.
“Jesus was born in a cave in Bethlehem because, Sacred Scripture tells us, ‘there was no room for them in the inn.’ I am not departing from theological truth when I say that Jesus is still looking for shelter in your heart.” – Saint Josemaría Escrivá