I grew up in Miami where over half of the population lives with their hearts in two countries. You see, in the early 60’s my mom got on a plane with just two sets of clothes in her suitcase and fled the only home she’d ever known to find freedom.
My mom finished high school in the United States, earned a college degree, owns a home, pays taxes, and votes in every election. She speaks fluent English with a heavy accent, and she passed the citizenship test decades ago. She loves shopping at Walmart, and we eat turkey and sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving.
We are American.
But if you visit my mom’s for dinner, you will get a tiny thimble of very strong coffee after the meal. Every December, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th – which is “Noche Buena” – with mojo roasted pork, black beans, white rice, and yucca.
I am Cuban.
Eight years ago, I married a nice American man, and now my last name is Dunbar instead of Lopez. If you look at my picture, you might not suspect my true heritage. But I must confess, I dream in two languages.
My parents are incredibly thankful to reside in America, but they will always live with a restless longing for home. And they carry on many of the customs of their homeland to this day in exile. Cubans are kissers, for example. If we ever meet in person, I must warn you that I might not be able to resist the urge to give you a kiss on the cheek in greeting. I was schooled in this important custom as a child and expected to give “besitos” to welcome every guest who entered our home. My American friends like to simply shake hands, but Cubans embrace.
You, my friend, are also a dual citizen. Your feet may stand on earthy soil, but your home is in heaven.
In his epistle to the church at Philippi, Paul challenges Christ followers to steward their dual citizenship effectively. During our time of exile on earth, we must confess that our hearts long for heaven. Our conversation should be marked by a decidedly Christ-like accent. And while we may adopt some of the customs of this world, our lights should shine brightly for Jesus even as this broken world grows darker.
My parents may never return to their homeland, but I can assure you that every person who puts their faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins will see Him face to face in heaven one glorious day very soon. Paul says we are to eagerly await Christ’s imminent return. The word picture created in the original Greek text is the idea of standing on tip-toe with your head and neck thrusted forward in anticipation.
Our Rescuer is going to return and set every detail right. It could be today. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
In a flash of glory Jesus is going to show up on earth to take His children home. We will leave behind weariness and pain. We will say goodbye to disabilities and disease. Our sin-wracked bodies will completely transform into perfect trophies of His grace.
Are you longing for home, friend? Rest in the promise that the King of kings is coming soon. In the meantime, we can share our love for Jesus and invite others into His embrace. Someone in your circle of influence needs to hear your heavenly accent more heavily today.
As we head into the holiday season, let’s share a strong dose of Jesus with our seeking friends who desperately need a Savior.
Keeping the Faith,
Lyli Dunbar enjoys karaoke in the car with her husband, digging into Bible study with the girls, and reading 12 books at a time. A writer, speaker, and mentor, her burning passion is to know Jesus and to make Him known. Join her at lylidunbar.com to find fuel for a wildfire faith. You may also connect with Lyli on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, You Tube and Pinterest.