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Pilgrims & airports

"Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage,” (Psalm 84:5).

We associate Thanksgiving with a number of things: family get-togethers, copious amounts of good food, football games, and day-after sales, to name but a few. However, the reason we have Thanksgiving is because of the Pilgrims. They sailed over on the Mayflower, learned from the native Americans how to plant corn, and wore big belt buckles on their hats (well, at least the men did). And while the word pilgrim usually conjures up images similar to these, a pilgrim according to the American Heritage Dictionary is anyone “who embarks on a quest . . . any traveler.”

Chances are that during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, you’ll be either making a pilgrimage as you travel to visit loved ones or you’ll be hosting those who made a pilgrimage to see you. Either way, we all know what it is like to travel with your heart set on a hope that waits for you at your journey’s end.

We also know what it is like when our journey is over and we gather around the table with loved ones on such special occasions. We thank Him for all of the things He has lavished upon us – family, food, health, prosperity, etc. We’re grateful for these and we should be. But if you belong to Christ, there’s something else you should be thankful for that is easy to overlook and I’m afraid is often missing in our thanksgiving. In the midst of all of our great blessings, we need to remember there’s something else that’s even better. I’m speaking about what waits for us at the end of our pilgrimage through this life.

I’m grateful that God has let us know that when our days on this earth are over, there’s another table we’ll gather around with a much larger family. It will be a reunion of loved ones whom we haven’t seen in years as well as a meeting of wonderful friends we just haven’t had the chance to previously know. The richness, beauty, and blessedness of our earthly gatherings will absolutely pale in comparison to this heavenly homecoming.

We’re all pilgrims on this planet. Earth is our airport. We came in on one flight and before we know it we’ll be leaving out on another. No matter how comfortable we tend to get here on earth (and we can get pretty comfortable), this is not our final destination. It isn’t intended to be. There is somewhere else we are meant to be.

Of course, all of this is good news only if you have made plans for when your time in the airport, your pilgrimage, is over. If you haven’t, let me suggest you read the second chapter of the book of Acts and see the plans God has made for you.

If you already have your ticket, enjoy the airport but don’t get too attached to it. Don’t spend too much time in the gift shop, it can weigh you down or even cause you to miss your flight. Remember why you’re in the airport and where you’re going.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving but don’t stop journeying toward the hope God has for all hearts, pilgrim.

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