Sunday, November 30, 2014

Coming Home

This week was a time of coming home. Our children and grandchildren came home to grandma’s house for thanksgiving dinner. Not sure why it is always grandma’s house and not grandpa’s; but it does not matter whose house they call it as long as they never stop wanting to come home. The Thanksgiving Holiday is a wonderful time for family and friends to gather and enjoy some of my favorite foods. The grandkids asked if grandma was making her pretzel jello desert, one of our sons asked if she was making her sourdough dinner rolls and still others asked if she was making her famous stuffing. I guess that is why everyone thinks of it as grandma’s home because she is the one that makes their favorite foods. The one thing they always ask if I am making is their favorite breakfast - sourdough biscuits and eggs. The best part is the blessing of having everyone home again enjoying playing and visiting. Even the chaos with all the grandkids making a mess of all the toys and the noise is comforting.

Family gatherings at Thanksgiving have always been important to me. When I was young I remember uncles and aunts coming to our home for the holidays. It seemed that our home was the place to go for our family gatherings. My dad’s parents were in California and we lived in Indiana so we did not get to see them much. My Mother’s mom lived not too far from us but she would come to our home along with some of her family for the holidays.

One of our family traditions is the grandkids get their Christmas pajamas on Thanksgiving. It seems that no matter how old they are they still enjoy getting their new pajamas from grandma and grandpa at Thanksgiving. They get to try them on and then we take pictures. They even get to be silly in some of the pictures. This year the weather was so warm they were able to go outside and play. We were all blessed to have the opportunity to talk on the phone with our youngest son who was not there with us.

My brother’s family is having another homecoming this year. Their youngest son came home this past week from serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Missionary homecomings are special traditions for LDS Families. The whole family goes to the airport to greet the returning missionary. There is nothing more comforting for a mother than to be able to give her son a hug after being away from her for two years. The biggest adjustment is seeing the growth and maturity that has taken place from two years of selfless service as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no joy greater that a mother and father can feel than a child coming home again.

There is another homecoming that some of my classmates form high school have experienced over the past few weeks. They have had family members go home to their Father in Heaven. Losing a loved one is difficult and yet if we understand where they are going it should be a time of rejoicing for the one we have lost. They are home. William Wordsworth in his Poem “Ode – Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” said:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

        Hath had elsewhere its setting,

          And cometh from afar:

        Not in entire forgetfulness,

        And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come
        From God, who is our home:

My heart goes out to those that have lost loved ones and I know that this is a difficult time for them. I hope that they can be comforted knowing that they are now enjoying the peace and happiness of being home again with their Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. The Prophet Amla sought to know what happened to us when we die and he taught:

Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. (Alma 40:11-12)

The Prophet Joseph F. Smith saw a vision of the spirit world at the time of the Savior’s death he said:

As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great.

They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.

While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;

And the saints rejoiced in their redemption, and bowed the knee and acknowledged the Son of God as their Redeemer and Deliverer from death and the chains of hell.

Their countenances shone, and the radiance from the presence of the Lord rested upon them, and they sang praises unto his holy name. (Doctrine & Covenants 138:11-24)

It is comforting to know that because of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ when we die we will be brought back into the presence of the one that suffered for our sins and if we allowed his atonement to free us from our sins we will dwell with him and our Heavenly Father for all eternity.

Homecomings are a joyous time whether it is going to grandma's house for the holidays, welcoming a son or daughter home from a mission or even when a loved one leaves this life and returns home to Heavenly Father.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

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