He’s Home!

Rejoice with us: Our son is home from Afghanistan! On December 10, Lars arrived home to the eager arms of his beautiful and beloved wife and children in North Carolina. And as Bengt told me excitedly, “When I saw Daddy, I ran and ran and hugged him so hard I knocked him over!”

I feel as if I could do the same thing when I see him. He’s home! He’s Home! He’s home! It’s almost a constant chant at the back of my mind every day.

And tomorrow, Lars and family will be arriving here—at our home in Wisconsin! Woody and I are so excited we are like two little kids. Our whole family will be together for Christmas! Lars, Kelly, Bengt, and Hannah come tomorrow, followed in the next few days by Bjorn, Abby, and Soren from New Hampshire, and then Erika, Richie, and Gabriella from Ireland. We are grateful beyond words.

I woke up with a singing heart. And then I cried. Because there’s something else going on today. Yes, we are making final preparations for the much anticipated arrivals—big food shopping to do, baby equipment to be borrowed, and toys to be gathered from the corners of the house where they’ve been tucked away since our grandchildren’s last visit.

But today, December 19, is also the two-year anniversary of my mom’s Homegoing. Two years ago today, in Ft. Myers, Florida, with my brother and me and her sister and husband at her side, Mom went to be with Jesus. She was 84 years old. I was hugely blessed to have such a wonderful mom all these years. But still, I wasn’t ready to let her go. I knew I had to. I knew she would be better off with Jesus than in her hospice room, lovely as it was. But still, I didn’t want to let her go.

And now, two years later, I miss her every day.

I lay in bed this morning thinking of all the mixed emotions of this day—the anticipation, the joy and gratitude, the sheer happiness; yet the deep down sadness I still feel as well. And suddenly I realized something. That continual mantra at the back of my mind (“He’s home, He’s home, He’s home”) has multiple meanings for me this Christmas.

At this time of year we celebrate the coming of One who came and made his home with us for a little while. But this was not His Real Home. He died and rose again and returned to His Real Home that it might also become our Real Home. So because He’s home, my mom is, too.

Time now to go and get ready. My heart is singing! He’s home! HE’S home! And she’s home, too—along with my dad and Woody’s parents and so many many others we love. Good reason to celebrate, don’t you think?

Merry Christmas!