By Scott Keith –
I find myself thinking about the state of the Home more and more as of late. I am not here referencing the ongoing maintenance tasks, which seem to be ever present when one owns a home. Nor do I refer to the endless list of chores with which every home, and every person in the home, must to some degree or another contend. Rather, I am contemplating the actual state of the home in our modern world. Why is home so sweet as the old saying claims?
I think that in all of my rumination, what I have realized is that the home is the primary place where one engages, interacts, and shares life with his family. Thus a home is a kingdom to every man in that for every good man, and every good husband and father, the home is a psychological, physical, ethical, intellectual, and certainly spiritual habitat where they are unrestricted and therein free. It is in this freedom that one finds that they can truly sacrifice and truly give of themselves for the sake of the other, which is their family. The home is unique in that it is that one place where one can give of himself without the risk of diminishing himself. In fact in the home, to sacrifice is not to make weak, but it is in sacrifice that we are proving the old evangelical promise true. Our small, and to our eyes often inconsequential, earthly sacrifices given in the home from a perspective of freedom, point in the minutest of ways to that primary sacrifice which was too won for us, not of coercion or derision, but from freedom for freedom.
Following Chesterton, I then think that the home is the only place where a man can truly be free. The home and the family, much like our life in Christ is not only a paradox but also solves the paradox that it is. It is where to suffer is to have contentment. The home is that place where commanding is obeying. In the home, to be the head means to be a servant. The family defines the home. The family solves the paradox of what it means to be a man and woman. “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said: ‘this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:22-25) The family, the home, gives us, male and female, a place to live out this calling to leave father and mother, be naked and unashamed, and become father and mother to our own family of children. In the home, this too does not occur from coercion, but in vocational freedom.
A good home serves one final apologetic purpose. A caring and warm home reminds us that our God does not lack warmth or care.
God the Father is not a passive father. He is the one who has laid the foundation for all families and thus all homes. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:14-15) God names a good home, wherein a father and mother act freely to make and keep a family. He names them with His own name. He calls that family and that home to be a shadow of what he is, warm, caring, forgiving, and mostly free.
The modern attack on the family is an attack on Christianity in that it is an attack on God’s nature, His character, and His name. As we abide all of the attacks in our culture on mother, father, house, home, and family, we watch what God has set us free to be drifting away. These are the great gifts that he has set us free that we should walk in them. These rewards are those with which He blesses us during this season of glad tidings. Good families and good homes serve as pale reflections of God in His goodness.
As we walk into this New Year, heads held high in the freedom of Christ, let us remember that we are free to be what He has declared we are. We are saved; we are His children; we are redeemed; we are free, and we are a part of His family. Let us not forget home and family and maybe even see it as that place wherein some of the paradoxes of this life are all at the same time revealed and solved. And in remembering, may the home be for you that place where you are free, the place that reminds you that your God is a God of love, warmth, and care on account of the freedom won for you in Christ. God’s goodness to us by means of the home is what makes it such a sweet home.