I cannot even put into words how much I love this time of year. The smell of fall is in the air, the leaves are beginning to change colors, the weather has cooled down, church activities are happening more frequently, youth groups are starting, the kiddo's are bustling with excitement as they begin a new school year, and of course, Homecoming! What would fall be without Homecoming? If you have never lived in a small town, then you can't begin to really know what Homecoming is all about.
Being from California, I had never really experienced Homecoming. Of course, we did the usual Homecoming activities in school. You know.....each class had a different name (Did we really call ourselves the Sophomore Surfers?:), each day had a different theme, and there was a definite excitement during that particular week which caused every other week of school to fail in comparison. Except, maybe, the last week. However, Homecoming (or Spirit Week as it was known in California) was mostly limited to the school. It was for the kids. Then I moved to Red Oak, Iowa.
Today I had a meeting with one of my daughters teachers at the high school (we homeschool, but my girls are dual enrolled). When I arrived there were students everywhere. There were four or five trucks with trailers parked in front of the school, loud music, and kids working diligently trying to finish their floats before the Homecoming parade. As I entered the school I was immediately submersed into a sea of Black and Orange (school colors). School will be dismissed early so every student can attend the Homecoming parade and show their 'Tiger Pride'. Of course, you expect that from the students.
What is amazing, though, is the amount of adults that will take time off from work, laundry, running errands, etc. to attend the parade. Homecoming isn't a 'school' thing.....it is a community thing. Office workers, store clerks, factory workers, and most everyone will be wearing the Tiger colors and those that can, will be at the parade to show their support. And, as a grand finale, the biggest majority of the town will attend tonights football game where we will listen to the, sometimes off key, marching band and see the Homecoming King and Queen and their royal court smiling and waving to the boys and girls who dream of being in their shoes someday. Even people who no longer live in Red Oak will come back this weekend to reminisce about their own Homecoming days. Which, if I am not mistaken, is really what Homecoming is supposed to be about. Welcoming home Alumni.
When I think of the word Homecoming, I can't help but think of the Homecoming we, as believers will receive when we leave this world and go Home to Heaven. I try to imagine it like it is here on earth.
Jesus, the Homecoming King, standing at the gates smiling and waving. The Royal Court, all our brothers and sisters in Christ, standing behind Him cheering as I approach. Everyone dressed in Royal Purple and White (team colors), showing their 'Heaven Pride' and Angels, the marching band, blowing their trumpets in perfect harmony. As I finally make it to my Savior and look Him in the face for the first time, He wraps His arms around me and whispers in my ear "Welcome Home Alumni". In that moment, my childhood dream comes true, I am Homecoming Queen.