One of my favorite songs is “Caledonia” by Dougie MacLean. Dougie is from Scotland, and he refers to the song as a “wee homesickness song.” Before reading further, click on the video clip and listen to the song.
I’ve thought about this song and often wondered why it strikes such a chord with me. There’s a melancholy element there that is appropriate to a song about homesickness.
So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs that make me think about where I came from, and that’s the reason why I seem so far away today.
But in spite of this, it’s not a “sad” song. It also contains an element of hope.
Caledonia you’re calling me, and now I’m going home.
Perhaps part of the reason for the song’s impact on me is my own occasional homesickness for the place where I grew up. I have lived in my new place of residence for over fifteen years, but it still does not feel like “home” to me.
I think there is more to it than that, however. As a Christian, I also feel out of place in this present fallen world. The reason, I believe, is because we as Christians are resident aliens. Scripture tells us “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). In this world, we are “sojourners and exiles” (1 Pet. 2:11). Like our Old Testament forefathers in the faith, we desire “a better country” (Heb. 11:15). So this world is not our true home.
Those of us who are believers, therefore, feel something akin to homesickness, and a song like “Caledonia” resonates in our soul. We take joy in and give thanks for the grace and mercy that is now ours because of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we give thanks for the many blessings we have in this life, but we also daily struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We see the suffering caused by sin around us, and we experience it ourselves. We see friends and family go home before us, leaving us to carry on without them. We cry out, “How long, O Lord?”
And what do we do? We gather together as the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day and, as in the song, we “tell old stories” - old true stories. And we sing songs that make us think about our true home. And we can become “homesick.” But we do not despair. We press on with the duties to which we have been called in this present age, but we also look forward to the day when we can say, “Lord you’re calling me, and now I’m going home.”