Bob Tamasy: A Homecoming Unlike Any Other

  • Monday, November 21, 2022
  • Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving? The turkey, dressing and “all the fixin’s”? Holiday parades on TV? Football games? How about the gatherings of family around the festive dinner table – happenings that rarely occur at any other time of the year?

While not always the most congenial of events, especially if family members sit on separate political and ideological fence posts, Thanksgiving celebrations often serve as homecomings. Times when parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, in-laws and outlaws can convene at someone’s home and catch up on what’s been transpiring in their lives since last Thanksgiving, or the last time they all got together.

High schools and colleges across the country have pretty much wrapped up their own homecoming events for the year, complete with king and queen (or whatever). Typically, each school designates one football game per season for homecoming, although at the first college I attended, homecoming was linked to a basketball game since the institution lacked a football team.

Akin to school homecomings are class reunions for former classmates after years of being out of school. These are designed for several purposes: rekindle old relationships, brag about their respective families, show off accomplishments and acquisitions since leaving dear old alma mater and, with the passage of time, see who’s showing their years more than others. They stir old memories, but since many have relocated to other areas since graduation, may not seem like coming home.

But have you ever stopped to think about what the ultimate homecoming will be like? The day when we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and, if we’re His followers, not only hear His “well done, good and faithful servant,” but also start getting reacquainted with old friends and loved ones who arrived at the “pearly gates” before we did?

This comes to mind because recently several longtime friends and family members have passed away, including a sister-in-law and a friend I had from my early newspaper days. Both believers in Jesus, they’ve gone to their eternal home.

The Lord addressed where we truly belong shortly before His crucifixion. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus uttered what some refer to as His “high priestly prayer,” offering prayer for Himself looking ahead to the events of the next days and also for His followers.

He stated, “…they are not of the world any more than I am of the world…. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it…. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:14-24).

Since we live in this world but not of it, we really can’t call this home. As the old gospel hymn puts it, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” Ultimately, we’re not made for this world but one we’ve yet to experience.

Perhaps this is why we find a statement in Psalm 116:15 that initially sounds strange: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Picture a child returning from college, or after taking a job in a distant city, and the delight a parent feels upon their arrival at home. Multiply that perhaps a million times and we can understand why one of God’s children leaves this life through death, He aregards that as precious – because they’ve finally come home.

The Bible often speaks of Heaven, but no one knows precisely what it will be like. Even though that hasn’t stopped many from writing speculative books about it. However, we can trust we’ll be able to join good friends and loved. The Scriptures hint at this after compiling an impressive list of faithful men and women in ages past in Hebrews 11: “All these people were still living by faith when they died…. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth …they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

The writer begins the next chapter by declaring, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Does this mean heroes of faith who’ve passed on sometimes get a glimpse of how we’re doing here on earth?

Maybe, maybe not. But can you imagine being welcomed into Heaven by such faithful individuals as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samson, David, prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, not to mention the apostles? Then there will be the godly folks we loved and rubbed shoulders with over the years.

What we know for certain is Jesus’ promise that, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you…. I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-2).

Thinking about our heavenly homecoming, our imaginations can run wild with anticipation. We do have this assurance from the apostle John: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). As another old hymn says, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.”

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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.

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