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AT CHRISTMAS ALL ROADS LEAD HOME


Marjorie Holmes writes, "At Christmas, all roads lead home. The filled planes, the packed trains and overflowing buses all speak eloquently of a single destination: home. Despite the crowding and the crushing, the delays, the confusion, we clutch our bright packages and beam our anticipation. We are like birds driven by an instinct we only faintly understand--the hunger to be (home)."


She then remembers a Christmas during the Great Depression when her Dad was out of work and the rest of her siblings were scattered across the country and unable to return home for Christmas. But then just days before, each sibling conspired with the others to make it home no matter what to surprise their parents. When she arrived at the door, she writes, "I'll never forget (my mother's) eyes or the feel of her arms around me." The next morning she was awakened by the sleigh bells hanging on the front door as her siblings each arrived. "Together. (We realized) it was the best Christmas gift we could give one another."


Many years later, her husband had to travel to Florida to perform a vital surgery which would separate them for Christmas. They had agreed that this would be the way it is for Christmas this year but then at the last minute, Marjorie and her daughter hopped a train and headed to Florida. On the way, she saw a sailor in his uniform with his sea bag on his shoulders and she knew here was another so immutably driven to "Come home." And then she writes, "There must be some deep psychological reason why we turn so instinctively toward home at this special time. Perhaps we are acting out the ancient story of a man and a woman and a coming child, plodding along with their donkey toward their destination. It was necessary for Joseph to go home...The Child who was born on that first Christmas grew up to be a man, Jesus. He healed many people, taught us many important things. But the message that has left the most lasting impression and given the most hope and comfort is this: that we do have a home to go to...a place where every day will be Christmas, with everybody there. At home."

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