Picture Advent – Day 11: Home

Picture Advent – Day 11: Home

by the Rev. Christina Fidanza

Mark 6:1-6 (The Inclusive Bible)

After leaving there, Jesus came into his own town, followed by the disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and the many listeners were astonished and said, “Where did he learn all this?  What is the wisdom that has been granted, and these miracles that are performed by his hands?  Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses and Judah and Simon?  Are not his sisters here with us?”  They found these things to be stumbling blocks. Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometowns and among their own relatives and in their own households.”  And he could work no miracles there, apart from laying his hands upon a few sick people and healing them; their lack of faith astounded him.  He made the rounds of the neighboring villages instead, and spent the time teaching.

HOME can mean many things.  It may be the place where you grew up and spent your formative years.  It can be the place where you go each night to lay down your head and sleep.  It might include biological family members, or it might not.  It might just be a place to store your “stuff” for a time as you travel about to various places.

My dad thinks his home is my home.  But it isn’t.  I didn’t grow up there; it was purchased long after I had left the place that we called home together.  In the many years between growing up in Chester County, Pennsylvania and now, I have lived in another state, bought a house, become homeless, rented apartments, and then returned to my “home” state to attend Seminary.  My home is where my stuff lives, where I go to sleep each night, where I am greeted by a bouncing greyhound and an indifferent feline.  I don’t go home to visit my dad, I come home from visiting him.

My home is within walls.  I battle agoraphobia, so even the outside area around where I live doesn’t feel like home.  But more than that, for as long as I can remember, home has not been a place of unconditional acceptance.  My decorating skills are quite lacking, along with all those other traditional homemaking skills like cleaning and laundry and cooking balanced meals.  I want to welcome people in, but when I do, I am ashamed at the messy disorganization of my space.  That shame is re-affirmed each time my family visits me, and instead of noticing a new piece of my artwork on the wall, they comment on the dust or the piles of books and papers.

Mark 6:1-6 has helped me think of HOME as something other than a physical space.  Jesus was not welcomed in Nazareth, but he did not let that stop him.  For the few who could believe, he was at home to heal them.  But then he left.  And went on to minister to many more than could be contained in a single town. 

Jesus had with him a traveling home of people who set up camp with him wherever he happened to be.  I’ve been blessed to have many people in my family of choice to balance out my family of origin.  When I start to feel rejected by the judging attitude of my parents, I look to my diverse family of choice and see my home.  In spite of the agoraphobia, my home has no walls, because it travels with me in the form of friends, some of whom I’ve never met in person!  People are my true home.

PRAYER:  Creator of us all, help us to create homes where our souls can rest, even if our bodies cannot.  Bring us to people who find us acceptable just as we are, and teach us to create home with them.  AMEN.

Tomorrow’s word is Ancestors.

We invite you to join The Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ on Facebook over the next few weeks as we Picture Advent. How do you envision the words of Advent? What images come to mind? This year, as we are all far apart on Advent, maintaining social distances to keep us safe, join us in a new tradition and participate in #ONAPicture Advent. We’re inviting you to use each day’s theme to inspire a daily photo – either a new picture or an older one. Each afternoon, we will post a new reflection for that day’s word with a focus text, prayer, and an image. Then, post your chosen image as a response to our thread. At the bottom of our reflection is the word for the next day, allowing you to consider what the word means to you. And PLEASE COPY – use this chart to have your own #ONAPictureAdvent within your faith community.

Here is the entire list.

Word of the Day Date
Hope 11/29/20
Prepare 11/30/20
Wait 12/1/20
Listen 12/2/20
Affirm 12/3/20
See 12/4/20
Promise 12/5/20
Peace 12/6/20
Tender 12/7/20
Comfort 12/8/20
Home 12/9/20
Ancestors 12/10/20
Kindness 12/11/20
Nurture 12/12/20
Joy 12/13/20
Open 12/14/20
Awaken 12/15/20
Courage 12/16/20
Truth 12/17/20
Provide 12/18/20
Grace 12/19/20
Love 12/20/20
Shine 12/21/20
Blessed 12/22/20
Rejoice 12/23/20
Glory 12/24/20