Is your house a home? What kind of life does it provide? Is it a place of safety and refuge? Is it secure and filled with love and peace? Is it the proverbial place "where the heart is?" Or is it filled with problems, struggle, strife, and contention?
What type of house or home are we discussing? One is physical, and the other is psychological. Each type of house or home has unique characteristics. A physical house is a structure, while a psychological home is a state of mind.
Houses and the lives lived in them are described in so many ways. There is the home where peace and solitude reign. There is the money pit, requiring constant work and upkeep.
They say a house is a man's castle. Wouldn't it be a woman's castle as well? This saying seems to have originated in 1604 with this statement:
"The house of every one is to him as his Castle and Fortress as well for defence against injury and violence, as for his repose." Sir Edward Coke
The house is so important that the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution enshrines its security:
"The right of the people to be secure in their ... houses ... against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated…"
Let's look at the two: the house (the physical structure) and the home (where the heart is.)
The physical house is, well, physical. It is a house you may call home, and it may be a lovely place, or it could be a not so lovely place.
Some of us have experienced a house filled with hate, bickering, dispute, dread, and horrors. My heart goes out to those who live in this world.
Some of us have experienced a house that seemed to be the proverbial money pit—one thing after the next needed to be repaired or replaced. The amount of time and money spent on such a place can be overwhelming.
Some of us have had great experiences and good fortune with houses, building equity over the years, selling, and moving into ever-larger houses.
A house is the largest investment in most people's lives. Things like cars are terrible investments as they can greatly depreciate over time. In most locations, a house is almost a sure bet when it comes to appreciation over time.
To make a house a home is the most important investment we can make from our hearts. Love and family fill these homes. Fortunate are those who have this experience.
From a psychological standpoint, the home has so much more meaning than it does in the physical. Home is truly where the heart is, yet it may be outside the walls and the roof.
Did you know the saying "home is where the heart is" is 2000 years old? The Roman philosopher known as Pliny the Elder created this simple truth long ago:
"Home is where the heart is." Gaius Plinius Secundus
Many people have referenced home being where the heart is since. Nearly two centuries ago, Emerson wrote:
"A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams." Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can build this home within the walls of the house. Or you can build it outside the four walls in your mind. Your home is defined by who you are and who you are becoming. Its foundation is your relationships. Physical walls and a roof over your head do not define your home. Your home is based on you and how you see and think about life.
Your home can consist of far more than a house. For me, my home is Virginia, the state where I was born. Having lived and traveled the world from early childhood, "home" always seemed so far away. Not a house, mind you, but the place I called home.
I must admit I am extremely blessed. Despite the loss of my first wife and only daughter, I have a new life now. I finally retired to Virginia, my home state, to a beautiful house that is no longer just a structure. Jane, my wife, and I have made it a true home.
I am blessed to live in a home with Jane, who takes such care to ensure our house is a home and not just another residence. It is a warm, inviting place filled with love and peace. I feel so safe and secure in our home. There is no other place in the world I would rather be. For me, home is truly where the heart is, and my heart is here.
We are near family and have so many great friends around. We have a home church we love and serve in. Jane and I worked hard for more than 40 years apiece to settle down and make this place our own.
Doesn't it sound far better to live in a home rather than a house? A home is far more personal and has so much meaning.
"He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Building a home
Building a house in a place you call home and filling it with love is the best one can do to build a home in this present world. In my opinion, it takes faith in God and a Christ-centered life to build a truly lasting and worthwhile home.
The best advice I have found on how to build a home is from the Bible. Written nearly 3000 years ago:
"A [home] is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables." (Proverbs 24:3-4 NLT)
The wisdom referenced in this scripture comes from God and not the world. It is found by reading and studying the Bible while being filled with Him and His Holy Spirit. Faith in God starts you on the path to building a home that will be secure and that will last into eternity.
My hope is that you have or will find and make the place you live your home. There is not a more satisfying way of being in the world. The only thing I value more than being home with my wife is the Lord Jesus. It is because of Christ I have been able to find so much peace and joy and love after such great tragedies in my earlier life.
As the Christmas season approaches, I pray you will find peace and contentment in your home.
Remember, home is where the heart is. In celebration of His birth, may your heart and home be filled with the peace and love of Jesus Christ this holiday season!