Occasionally, I will hear an old song that resurrects memories in the tender spots of my soul. People and places step out of the shadows and visit with me for a brief moment or two. Does that happen to you, too? If so, you understand what’s hard to put into words. Suddenly, without announcement, nostalgia sweeps over me, and I am trapped in its sticky web for an exhilarating experience that’s always too brief to satisfy . . . too vivid to ignore . . . too deep to describe . . . too personal to share.

Nostalgia. That abnormal yearning within us to step into the time tunnel and recover the irrecoverable. That wistful dream, that sentimental journey taken within the mind—always travelled alone and therefore seldom discussed. Here’s where it sometimes starts:

  • A barefoot walk along a sandy beach
  • A quiet visit to the little place where you grew up
  • Listening to a rippling brook running quietly over the rocks through a misty forest of autumn leaves
  • Looking over childhood photos in the family album
  • Watching your grown-up “child” leave home
  • Standing beside the fresh grave of a close, personal friend or relative
  • The smell and sounds of a warm, crackling fireplace
  • An old letter, bruised with age, signed by one who really loved you
  • Climbing to the top of a windswept hill – then standing there, still . . . silent
  • Getting alone—all alone—and reading aloud
  • Christmas Eve, late at night, in the room where only the tree lights glisten
  • Lovely poems . . . beautiful melodies
  • Weddings . . . graduations . . . anniversaries
  • Snow . . . sledges . . . toboggans . . . a long, downhill slide
  • Saying goodbye after a memorable visit

Oh, yeah . . . you’ve been there. I can tell by that smile you’re trying to hide.

I suppose this is why I enjoy the Christmas holidays so much. The smells from the kitchen, the presence of my loving wife, the chatter of the grandchildren, laughter around the dinner table . . . the inexpressible feelings of gratitude to God for my home . . . my country . . . my church . . . and my Saviour . . . all converge upon me as nostalgia’s net tightens around me holding me close within its imaginary strands of endearment.
I have often wondered how Jesus must have entertained nostalgic feelings as He visited this planet He had originally created. How moving is that statement: “He came to His own” (John 1:11)! You see, when Jesus came as a man, He lived and walked among familiar territory. He was no stranger to this old earth . . . He came “to His own things” (literally). Having returned to His handiwork– my, how nostalgic the journey must have been for Him at times! Because He was not wanted, He was driven to a life of silence, solitude, and simplicity. The hills and the wilderness and the Sea of Galilee became His habitat. It was there He communed best with His Father. It was there He trained His small band of followers. Is it any wonder that the hills and the forest and the waves of the sea still hold us in the grip of nostalgia?

Take a drive sometime during the Christmas season—even if it’s for only an hour. In the stillness of your surroundings, give nostalgia the go-ahead. Let it run free . . . release your mind of all your cares, and see where it takes you. That’s one of my treasured pastimes during this season, and I’d like you to enjoy it with me.
If we meet together on one of those back roads of our memories, I will be so pleased—and I promise not to tell a soul. I’m good at keeping nostalgic secrets.

Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved.

Posted in Jesus and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.

ఖచ్చితత్వం, స్పష్టత మరియు ఆచరణాత్మకత అన్నీ చార్లెస్ ఆర్. స్విన్డాల్ యొక్క బైబిల్-బోధనా పరిచర్యను వివరిస్తాయి. చక్ ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ కు బోర్డు ఛైర్మన్ మరియు డల్లాస్ థియోలాజికల్ సెమినరీకి ఛాన్సలర్. చక్ టెక్సాస్‌లోని ఫ్రిస్కోలోని స్టోన్‌బ్రయర్ కమ్యూనిటీ చర్చ్ యొక్క సీనియర్ పాస్టర్‌గా కూడా పనిచేస్తున్నారు, అక్కడ ఆయన చాలా ఇష్టపడేదాన్ని చేయగలుగుతున్నాడు-ఇష్టపడే హృదయాలకు బైబిల్ నేర్పిస్తున్నారు. ఆచరణాత్మక బైబిల్ అనువర్తనంపై ఆయన దృష్టి 1979 నుండి ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ రేడియో ప్రసారంలో వినబడుచున్నది.