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away – adverb \ə-ˈwā\

: from this or that place
: in or to another place or direction
: toward another direction
: in a safe or secure place

__________

For someone who works at home, I’ve spent a lot of time away from the nest over the past few weeks. A 10-day trip to Texas kicked off a busy season of workshops and book signings, of family obligations and medical appointments, of cooking and shopping and celebrating.

From last Thursday evening until just last night, my brief times at home were spent sleeping and preparing to leave again. And in that short stint, land was auctioned, and a loved one laid to rest. Relationships were restored, and old friends reacquainted. Books were sold, and Christmas gifts purchased. I celebrated the season with friends and dreaded the results of medical tests. I cooked and ate and loved and worked.

And drove. Lots and lots of driving.

I don’t like being away much. I also don’t much like being away. Being away a lot leaves me tired, disconnected, languishing.

During Advent, I’ve thought a lot about away-ness, how during this middle time of waiting for Jesus to come again that he’s the one who’s away.

But in truth, it’s not Jesus that’s away. It’s me. The wistfulness of the holiday season, the dashed expectations, the longing for more even in the excess: these are the symptoms of homesickness. And I am the one who’s far from home. Advent longing stirs deeper than just a return visit with Jesus. I long for him to come back and take me with him. To take us all home where we belong.

Maybe that’s the real beauty of the holiday season. That’s the reason things never quite go the way we want or plan. Because no matter where we spend Christmas, we are away from the home we were made for.

I have a few more rides in the car, a few more trips away from home before the New Year is born. And the time away will get harder, not easier.

But the comforts of home keep me going and coming, and the Promise of Home keeps me hoping and believing.

And those medical tests I was dreading? They all came out just fine. Again. And I am thankful.

__________

WORD COUNT: 355


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Photo by Cindee Snider Re, used with permission. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.