Audrey Dukes: I'll be home for christmas

There’s just something special about Christmas songs, right? You hear them and somehow they have the ability to soothe right over your heart and make everything feel just a little bit brighter, a little bit warmer, comfy cozier. We all love that classic, beautiful, smooth voice of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, The Carpenters, or the ever lovely and unique Zooey Deschanel singing their lovely rendition of I’ll Be Home For Christmas. It kind of brings a warm smile to your face and heart just thinking of Christmas time, being with loved ones, and celebrating one of the warmest, love-filled times of the year. This year, for me it also brings longing.

For the first time, I am away from home at Christmas time, and that longing for home could not be more real. Unbeknownst to me, this longing set the stage for God to drop a whole lot of Christmas revelation into my heart that may just forever change the way I hear and respond to this classic Christmas song.

As you listen to I’ll Be Home For Christmas, it is nearly impossible not to think about where/what home actually is for you. I immediately thought, “Well, home is where the heart is, where you grew up, where your family is, where you feel most at home, where you long to be..." and I think most of us would agree.

But I felt like there was still more to home than what I was experiencing. I really needed to feel at home now, even being away from the place I have always known as home. So I asked the Lord to help me, and what He said was SO sweet and SO TRUE. He said; “Audrey, HOME is wherever I AM.” Home is where the Lord is. Being with Christ is our home. HIS PRESENCE IS HOME.  This means that home is lot so much a place, but a relationship. No matter where I am, I can always be at home; and Jesus is always constantly calling us home to himself. The question is, will we be home for Christmas, and in fact are we living a life where HE is our home and where He is at home in our hearts?

The Lord has been showing me that this lines up perfectly with the first Christmas story. Let’s look at the wise men and the star. They saw the star and followed it as it led them right to Jesus.

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11)

 Here we see people seeking Jesus, finding Him, and upon seeing Him being overjoyed to worship Him and to offer Him their gifts! They found what they were looking and longing for! And being in His Presence spurred forth action from them in offering Jesus their gifts. This is so for us as well! The gift we can offer is ourselves, our whole heart, our life.

Just like the wise men on that very first Christmas were invited to be with Jesus, we are also invited into intimacy with Him! We are invited by God in His Word to make our heart His home. In John 14:23, Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them." Nice! And I absolutely love Ephesians 3:16-19 where once again the close intimate home relationship between Christ and us is promised.

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

As we say yes to Him, He is faithful to make our hearts His home, and it goes on to promise that as we get to know and follow Him “we will be made complete’. Who doesn’t want to be complete? To know you are where you were made to belong. Often times I find myself in the thick of the Christmas season just longing for something more. I am listening to wonderful Christmas songs and trying to do all the things I think will make me feel complete or full of joy, and satisfied, but it is not until I still myself and bring my longing to God that my spirit is truly lifted, especially in this season that is really all about Him.

Christmas is a great time to get recalibrated, so to speak; so I feel like this revelation is SO perfect for right now. At Christmas time more than any other, the whole human race longs for belonging, the sense of home, love, and purpose. I believe that Jesus is fully aware of this, and is prepared to offer us all we need! We need only to seek and pursue, love and long for Him – our HOME, and from that love, we can offer Him our lives in obedience.In this life chapter I am in right now, I am away from what I have always called home, and I have felt such an extreme longing to be in that place. As I sought the Lord he made it very clear that He wants me to long to be with Him even more so than I was longing to be home in California. And as I set my eyes on Him I realized something:

I have also never felt more at home than where I am in life right now because I am seeking Jesus, trying to make His Presence my home, following Him and His leading into my calling and destiny. I am SO AT HOME and right where I belong because I am with Him, walking with Him in His will for my life. Where He leads, I will follow, where He goes, I go, wherever HE IS, THAT IS HOME. I AM HOME WITH HIM. And the great truth is, home is available at all times for all people!

Being that it is Christmas time, we are especially attune to this longing for love and home. My prayer is that we would LONG to be with Him, in His Presence, making Him at home in our hearts, our life, more than we have ever longed for anything before. And as we seek Him this Christmas, and always, making a home for Him in our hearts, may He continue to bless us unfathomably with His Presence, causing us to truly feel at home for Christmas and always.

Originally from sunny Southern California, Audrey has recently set out on a grand adventure pursuing life and Jesus in the arts and entertainment world of Musical Theater, Film, and Television over in NYC. God is surely shining His light there and moving mightily. Being there has grown in Audrey a heart for the homeless and for those needing freedomfrom oppression physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and she is interested in seeking how she, with Jesus and the Church, can be a bigger part of helping meet that need. Audrey is passionate about life and shining the love, peace, light and JOY of Jesus! Leading worship is also a huge passion of Audrey’s. She believes that praising and encountering the Lord together in worship is a beautiful and powerful thing, and that we are meant to live a lifestyle of worship. God is our GOOD Father! When off the stage you will most likely find Audrey soaking up the sun, sipping an iced soy dirty chai, and water coloring. ☺