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 There’s no place like home for the holidays!  Our generation knows that as well as any other.  That’s because we lived through (and still are living through) a time of social isolation and distancing that prevented us from being close to many people we love.  We know the anguish of separation, the yearning for those dear to us.  We want them to be near and dear but often have had to settle for “dear” – “near” - being out of the question for safety’s sake because of COVID.   Who doesn’t love this old Christmas song, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays”?  It was published in 1954 and popularized by crooner, Perry Como.  It sweetly captures the sentiment of longing for family.   For many people, Thanksgiving Day is the favorite of all the year’s holidays.  It is a day of family, faith and food.  It is for some people the only day when a prayer of thanksgiving is said prior to a meal.  It is a family day.  For many young people in love, it is the first day the boyfriend or girlfriend meets and spends time with the family of the beloved one.  And the food!  We all have our favorites:  for me it is brother in law’s sweet potatoes, sister’s cole slaw and chocolate pudding, daughter’s green bean and fried onion ring casserole, cut glass dishes of pickles and olives, my mashed potatoes (my family prefers I do them because they like how I make them lumpy – the dash of sour cream in them which is my secret doesn’t hurt), pie with the rare treat of whipped cream, and of course the bird!  Save the dark meat for me!   Thanksgiving is a “home” day.  That is where the sentiment comes from.   But the home we occupy on Thanksgiving Day is a temporary home.  Please turn your attention to another seasonal song, “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.”  Packed in these verses is an astounding amount of good theology.  The hymn addresses who we are and where we are headed as the people of Jesus Christ.   The hymn begins with a yearning for home at thanksgiving time.  “Come, ye thankful people , Come, Raise the Song of Harvest Home!”   This home, however, is not like your family which you rent or on which you have a mortgage or (fortunate) you have bought and paid for.)  This home is God’s.    But notice, the hymn says again and again that it is your home.  It is the place you belong.  You are family to God – beloved son or daughter.   The hymn tells us our purpose, “We ourselves are God's own field, Fruit unto his praise to yield.”  We are put on this earth to praise the Almighty, the Creator. What do we get out of it?  “God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied; Come to God's own temple, come; Raise the song of harvest home!”  All of our wants and needs are supplied.  God takes care of us.  Out of his infinite love for us, we can count on him for everything – more than we could ever imagine.   The hymn is one of victory.  “Then, thou Church triumphant come, Raise the song of harvest home! All be safely gathered in, Free from sorrow, free from sin, There, forever purified, In God's garner to abide.”  We are made pure by this merciful God who pardons all our sin and makes us perfect in his own image.  We are free from sin and hence free from sorrow – the worst sorrow being our disappointment in ourselves for letting God down when we sin.  All that is cleared away by the grace of God!   Who are we?  We are God’s harvest!  He planted us to grow and be his own.  When we failed in that, he himself intervened to perfect us, that his harvest could be bountiful and fruitful.  Picture if you will the farm stands around us.  They overflow with pumpkins and gourds, apples and vegetables.  God’s harvest is full of the faces and forms of the people he has chosen and redeemed – harvested! – in his own field.    That is you and me!