Unknowingly, my family and I have been in the United Kingdom for over 8 years. To be honest, since coming to the UK, there have been times when I have not quite remembered the dates of our traditional festivals, like Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. If it weren’t for some brothers and sisters in church traditionally making some festival foods like mooncakes and rice dumplings and then giving them to our family, we wouldn’t make an effort to celebrate.
I wonder how many of us have family reunion dinners? Although we don’t intentionally celebrate, being able to gather as a family, sit together, eat and chat always make me feel joyful. When I started working but was not yet married, I would often receive calls from my father. There was nothing much to talk about; but he would just call every day and ask if I would be home for dinner. This is how our previous generation would communicate with us – not expressing words of care, like asking if you were working hard, but they would prepare dinner and wait for you to come home. Seeing their children come home for dinner was the greatest satisfaction for elderly parents.
But as people grow up, they will leave home to explore the world to find opportunities in a foreign place, or to secure a stable life for themselves and their next generation. The chance to return home and have a reunion dinner with aging parents has become rare. When our own children grow up and go to work in other cities, the time to be together with the next generation also becomes increasingly scarce.
We truly long for a home that can be ours forever, a place filled with goodness, where we can be with our loved ones and friends. Due to livelihoods, conflicts, and discouraging prospects, we drift aimlessly on the earth, not knowing where we can settle down without being separated by distance, and enjoy the company of our family.
The author of Hebrews says, “For he (Abraham) was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” God has prepared a city with foundations for humanity, and He is the chief designer and builder of this city, greater than any earthly government or leader, because no earthly nation can provide us with eternal security. Abraham, called by God to the promised land, knew that on earth, he was only a stranger, even in the promised land. What he ultimately awaited was a more beautiful homeland. Why could Abraham and the faithful believers of all generations wait so steadfastly to enter this eternal homeland? It’s because of their relationship with God; He is the origin of our lives. Our lives are created and given by Him, so, like Abraham, God has a purpose and plan for us, and when He calls, we go where He directs. But ultimately, what Abraham longed for was to enter a more beautiful homeland, not the place of his physical birth, but the origin of his life, returning to the place God had prepared for us long ago, a place where we can be with God and His people forever.