Recently, we enjoyed meeting a young boy from Siberia — in a children’s book, through a series of photos. He comes from a nomadic tribe whose members have been tent dwellers for centuries.
The tent his extended family lives in is like no tent I’ve ever seen before. For one thing, it’s very sturdy. It’s also surprisingly spacious inside. More like a small circus tent than the simple camping tent our kids are using this week!
On Christmas Day, as I reluctantly left the cheerful chaos of present-opening time to go lie down in a quiet bedroom — the cacophony of four cute children and their new toys was causing a sensory overload headache — I felt the sting of my chronic health condition.
Chronic illness is a fairly constant reminder to me that my earthly body is just like the tent our kids are sleeping in this week: A bit flimsy. But good enough for the time being!
Some of you might have deluxe tents: bodies that are strong and durable and allow for generous freedom of movement. But all it takes is a patch of foul weather to make even the strongest of tents a very uncomfortable dwelling.
In 2 Corinthians 5:2-4, Paul — a tent maker by trade! — elaborates on his tent image: “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing… While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.”
Lord, we do groan and sigh when our bodies fail us. Thank you that you have a heavenly dwelling prepared for us. We do long to be with you, in our permanent home, but we’re still citizens of this world for the time being! Whether we’re here on earth or with you in heaven our goal is the same: to be close to you. May the meditations of our hearts, the words of our mouths and our interactions with others be pleasing to you today. Amen.