12/11/2020 Junior High Devotional

Devotional 2

Read Luke 1: 39-44

Being away from home has always been hard for me. At times it has been exciting, but if I’m being honest, home is where I feel safest. That’s why going to college was a mixture of emotions. When I first went to college I was so excited to make new friends and have new experiences! At the same time I was terrified to be away from my family, my friends, and all the things that were familiar to me. 

I remember when my parents drove me up to Pacific Union College to drop me off. It was a 9 hour drive from my home in Riverside. On the ride my family experienced a mixture of feelings. We talked about the excitement of this new adventure. My dad explained to me that I was about to step into one of the most memorable times of my life. He explained that after I graduated I would look back on my time at PUC and view them as some of the best times of my life. 

We also talked about the reality of being away from home. I remember my dad asking plainly “are you going to cry when we leave?”. My dad always gets straight to the point. I remember saying no, but in my heart I knew that I was going to cry.

When we got to school it felt like everything happened so fast. I was unpacked and moved in within an hour. All of a sudden it was time for my family to leave. They were going to begin the long trek back to Southern California. My family and I shared one last goodbye, and just as I predicted in my heart, I cried. I cried because I felt as though I was letting go of the last bit of home I had. In fact, I realized in that moment  that I was letting go of home itself. My heart felt most at home with my family. I could be the furthest point away from Riverside, California possible and still feel at home if I was with my family. I remember truly feeling sadness in that moment. 

When my family left I found myself alone. I was at the beginning of a new journey. One in which being a lone wolf was the starting point. College began and slowly I began to make friends and create a new home. It was a great experience, and to my surprise I began to feel comfortable in the new environment I was in. I began hanging out with people and creating true friendships. We would go off campus for meals and play board games in the campus coffee shop. Quickly I found myself creating a new family, and also finding a new home. 

Although I began creating a new family, I also at the same time began feeling alone. It was an odd feeling. I felt as though I was surrounded by people yet still all alone. In the moments where this loneliness felt most difficult I would call my dad. I remember one night explaining to him how much I missed him and my family. I explained that I was having a good time, but I didn’t feel fully at home without them there. My dad has always been able to calm my anxious heart. I remember him saying “Andy, I know we’re not there with you, but we love you so much. We are missing you too! You’re growing up and making your own path. We’re always going to support you on that path”. I remember feeling so much peace after that conversation. 

I was encouraged because although my family wasn’t physically with me, I knew they were with me emotionally. A couple days later I remember walking to our coffee shop to do some studying. I made a plan to get my work done and to be proactive about my experience at PUC. As I walked into the coffee shop I saw 4 familiar faces. To my joyful surprise, it was my family! My mom, dad, and sister decided to surprise me! I remember feeling such joy and excitement because my family was with me again. My home had come to me. 

There’s something about being around your family that feels like home. In the scripture we read today, we find a moment in which home is experienced. When Martha goes to visit Mary, John jumps for joy because he was in the presence of Jesus. Perhaps in this moment John felt at home. Although he was yet to be born, scripture explained that he was jumping for joy because he was in the presence of Jesus. I think this tells us something about the human heart. Our hearts feel the most at home in the presence of Jesus. During this season, perhaps what your heart is truly longing for is to be in the presence of Jesus. To be home. 

2020 has been a crazy year. A lot has happened not only in our nation, but in our world. In this Christmas season remember that Jesus came to earth so that we could experience his presence. In the midst of this crazy year, let’s go home. Let’s go to the safest, most joyful, and most hopeful place we can be. That's with Jesus.  When we step into the presence of Jesus, true joy is experienced. 

As we close this devotional, I invite you to talk as a family about the way your heart feels at home in Jesus.

Author: Andy Palomares, Youth Pastor at Crosswalk SDA Church

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