The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Welcome home

At Christmas, church doors open to Christ child & visitor alike

Welcome to earth, O noble Guest,
through whom this sinful world is blest!
You turned not from our needs away;
how can our thanks such love repay?

“From Heaven Above,”
Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 268

Since before Halloween, Christmas music has filled the air in stores and on street corners. This hymn by Martin Luther that we’ll sing Christmas Eve isn’t usually among the tunes we hear in the mall. But the sentiment, the sense of welcome, is in this song too.

Many Christmas songs are about our dreams for a simpler, happier time: “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me ...” and “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” They reinforce our longing for home, for a homecoming. I find myself longing too.

Friends: One reason we’re both joyful and teary-eyed at Christmas is that we think we can’t go home again. We’re all grown up. We have homes of our own. Life isn’t simple anymore. “I’ll be home for Christmas, but only in my dreams.”

But we in the church have good news. As we welcome this “noble Guest” to Earth, we also welcome him in all visitors who come to our churches on Christmas and throughout the year.

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All are welcome