Hiraeth: Episode 7 – Home Sweet Home

Come and explore the meaning and different aspects of the Welsh word ‘hiraeth’. In todays episode we focus on home sweet home. This episode is the seventh episode of a 7 part series. You can find the subjects of and the links to the other episodes at the end of this blog post.


Find the Hope Cymru Youtube channel here.


When we come to Jesus Christ, we find that the door upon which we have been knocking all our lives, will open at last. 

It is the door into that magical place with the strongest name there is, to the nicest word there is, and which there is nowhere else like. 

It is home. 

Into that glorious life for which we were made; belonging to Jesus, sons and daughters of his own almighty Father, in the kingdom of His Spirit.  

Everything changes, from grief and yearning for the past which has been lost, to living a whole new life, better and more wonderful than anything we could have ever dreamed today and hope for tomorrow. 


For centuries in Welsh medieval literature, there was the figure of (Y) Mab Darogan; the Son of Destiny, prophesied and expected by many, over long years, who would arise with great strength and reclaim the kingdom for his peoples, granting them freedom and prosperity once again. 

Some had thought him to be Arthur the legendary ancient king, others Llywelyn the Great, or his grandson Llywelyn the Last, once hailed as the son of prophecy, others still later Owain Lawgoch, awaited to return from France and liberate the land, or Owain Glyndwr, from the line of the kings of Powys, and even Henry VII after his victory at Bosworth Field.  

And yet all these men, for all of their strength and prowess, have come and gone with the tide.  


The advent of Jesus Christ, meant the beginning of the greatest adventure of all with Him.  

Having come to meet us, where we are, it was while Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee that he called his friends to follow Him.  

He did not go to Athens with its long history, of the five great philosophical schools and to the intellectual heavyweights. Although his followers would later and would conquer Athens.  

He did not go to Rome, to the centre of political and military might, to the corridors of power, although his followers would, and would win even that eternal city.  

He did not go to Jerusalem, to the temple and to the religious leaders, although again his followers would and win the hearts and minds of thousands.  

Where did Jesus go at first?  

To one of the least strategic and most unpromising places imaginable, to the shore of the small lake of Galilee, to four ordinary men; Simon, Andrew, James and John.  

That is what he is like. He doesn’t want anyone to think that they are not clever enough, not a mover or shaker, or religious enough to join him.  

He chose ordinary working men, and was able to transform them in such a way that they excelled all the greatest thinkers of this world.  

All other teachers, even the very best and most skilful, have to work with what is in front of them and are only able to take their students as far as their natural abilities will allow.  

Jesus is not limited in that way but is able to not only impart knowledge but also increase a person’s capacity and make them into a whole new person. 

That day Jesus invited those men to come and follow Him and promised that he would make them fishers of men.  

Right in the middle of the working day he told them to leave behind their fishing nets and boat, as well as their trade, security and comfort, not to mention their closest family ties.  

Going with Him, meant taking a huge risk; there was no job security, minimum wage, health insurance, or pension scheme.  

And yet, they didn’t take time to think it through, try to put in place a backup plan or fall back option. They didn’t bring anything with them just in case it didn’t work out, rather they very simply and decisively left everything and followed him.  

They went all in, they put all their eggs in one basket, if it didn’t work out, they had no other irons in the fire.  

It was the opportunity of a lifetime! 

For these four men, it was the beginning of the most exciting adventure of all. When the greatest things that ever happened, that billions have read and reread for millennia, took place, they were there.  

They saw it all and they would not have missed a moment of it.  

Jesus was as good as his word, they had followed him and he made them fishers of men.  

These four ordinary fishermen, would leave the world a very different place to how they had found it.  

Those four men turned the whole world upside down and shook nations, because they had been with Jesus.  

Today millions around the world bear their names; churches, schools, hospitals, universities and cities around the world are named after those four fishermen.  

If we were to ask them now would they have done anything differently?  

They would say, that they had no regrets, that following Jesus was the greatest adventure of all, that they had received a hundred times more than what they had left behind, and would do it all over again, having found as so many have before and since that they were no fools for giving up what they could not keep to gain what they could not lose.  

That same Jesus who walked quietly onto the stage of human history, slipping in through the back roads of an outlying district, is still today calling ordinary people to follow Him. 

‘He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside, he came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word: ‘follow me!’ and sets us to the tasks which he has to fulfil for our time. He commands. And to those who obey him, whether they be wise or simple, he will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in his fellowship, and they shall learn… who he is. ‘ 

Albert Schweitzer 


The adventure that Jesus brings us into with Him as we come home, is in local church families. 

As I trust Jesus, His Father becomes my Father. But He is not only my Father, but your Father as well, and our Father. 

With the same heavenly Father, we are brothers and sisters.  

As we walk through the doors of the local church, we are not walking into a club or an interest group but into a family of brothers and sisters. 

Although it may feel a strange and foreign place, through trusting Jesus, we find that we are actually related and part of the same family. 

or almost 2000 years the Welsh have raised great and majestic buildings where brothers and sisters have gathered to worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

From the cathedral of St David’s in the West, on its 6th century site, to the hundreds of chapels in towns and villages of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  

Whether we are old or young, from Wales or Ireland, India or China, whoever we are and whatever we have done or has been done to us, in church, you are coming into the family home, among brothers and sisters.  

The church is greatest family of all that crosses all borders, whose doors are never closed but is always taking in new members. 

A family in which we share life, and live Jesus’ new life together with Him and come alive with the new gifts He gives us by His Spirit, as we discover what it really is to be human together.  

Jesus allows us to be at home with the world around us, at home with those who are different, at home with those who are the same as us and at home with ourselves, as He allows us to be who we really are and to become ourselves as He has made us to be. 


‘The Christians O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth, they do not worship idols, falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another, and when they see a stranger, they take him into their homes and rejoice over him as a brother, if there is any among them that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy, and they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude the kind deeds they do, but are careful that no one should notice them…and truly this is a new people and there is something divine in the midst of them.’ 

said the Second Century Apology of Aristedes 

One day into a ruined family, a baby was born. From very young, he showed exceptional ability. As he grew up, people knew that he would go far, he was streets ahead of everyone else at school and off the chart at university.  

He did go far, in fact went as far as you can go and had a stellar and celebrated career.  

His family, that had before been so beaten down, began to lift up their heads again, as their fortunes began to change. 

Their son, was not keeping his success for himself, but was gladly shared it all with his family. 

He paid off all their debts, bought them new clothes, and lifted them out of dead end jobs. 

He bought them back to their family home, where they lived again with heads held high and hope for the future. 

Right now in our local Church families we may experience something of that glorious kingdom of the Living God on earth.

In our local church as we work together to live the way of Jesus, as we die to ourselves in serving each other, as we answer the needs of the local church family, as we learn to put the needs of our brothers and sisters above our own, so we begin to find the very destiny of the universe, the eternal plans of the living God.


In the church family with Jesus and with brothers and sisters, sharing in the greatest adventure of all, living Jesus’ life with Him, another quite amazing thing happens, that we could never have imagined and seems almost too good to be true. 

That homesickness, the grief and yearning for the past, of hiraeth, that haunts us, for what has been lost, to which we cannot return, begins to change in a profound way.  

I can just about remember what it was like to be a child. All of life was ahead and was in front of me. People often asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  

It changed all the time, I had all kinds of dreams and ambitions, because I imagined that an infinite vista of possibilities stood before me. 

I had no idea of my own limitations, that there might be things that I might not be capable of doing; on an aeroplane, once allowed into the cockpit, I wanted to be pilot, blissfully unaware that my colour blindness might not make this the best career path for me.  

But as life went, our childish optimism faded as we became more realistic, aware of how GCSE’s, A levels and degree classifications limit our choices and reduce our options.  

And gradually we scaled back our dreams and what we ever thought life could have in store for us.  

As we go on in life, the world we live in becomes smaller and our part in it more limited, until in the end when we are older, our time and attention can be consumed by whether to shop at Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s, or where we should bank, with Barclays or Halifax or what colour we should repaint our hallway. 

As we get older, we often speak more and more about life in the past; what we used to do, where we used to live, what it was like before this or that. 

Life is no longer in front, it is behind and has already been lived, and passed as water under the bridge. 

We can become fearful about the future; dwindling savings and pensions, loss of loved ones, decreased quality of life and fear of death.  

Jesus turns us around, in our very being, so that we no longer hanker for better days of the past, or look back with grief and yearning to what was lost and to which we may never return, but we now begin to look ahead and to look forward.  

To a brighter future that Jesus is sharing with us, than we could have ever imagined, to where Jesus is and what He is going to do.  

Jesus has gone on ahead of us.  

On the night before Jesus was to suffer on the cross of Calvary, far from sinking under self-pity or thinking about himself at all, he was thinking only about his friends and about us. 

He reassured them; 

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me.  

In my father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you.  

I am going there to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am.’ 


There is plenty of space in His Father’s house for them, and enough room for us. 

The very reason that he was going to the cross, and walked out of the grave and went back to where He had been before was to make room in His Father’s house for you and me. 

His Father’s house, is no ordinary house, but is that great city, the city of God and heavenly Jerusalem, the capital of the universe and control centre of the cosmos, from which He has reigned over all things from the beginning of our history.  

There is room there for us all there. 

In Northern Ireland there was a notorious loyalist called Billy Wright, the founder of a paramilitary group called the Loyalist Volunteer Force.  

In the Maze prison, he got word that there was going to be an attempt on his life and a few days afterwards he was murdered.  

A leaflet was published shortly after his death, asking the simple question, ‘is there room in heaven for Billy Wright?’ 

Some days before a Christian nurse had met with him in the prison and been able to share the good news of Christ with him, and said that right at the end of his life he came to know Jesus.  

Yes there is room in heaven for Billy Wright.  

All of Jesus’ time, having gone ahead of us, is spent for us. 

We are always on his mind. 

Even all the glory and splendour of where he is, has not meant that he has forgotten any of us, but rather longs for us to be there with him as well. 

“It is as if He had said, the truth is, I cannot live without you, I shall never be happy, till I have you where I am, so that we may never part again. Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father’s company, if I have not you with me, my heart is so set upon you, and if I have any glory, you shall have part of it.”  


We live our lives under the shadow of death, that last great enemy.  

Reluctant to even use the word, we are happier instead to say; passed away, passed on, no longer with us, kicked the bucket, snuffed it or even pushing up the daisies. 

King Louis the 15th of France is said to have forbidden his servants to ever mention the word death in his presence. 

In his diary entry for 22nd of August 1963, at the peak of his career, the British actor and comedian Kenneth Williams agonised; 

‘I wonder if anyone will ever know about the emptiness of my life. I wonder if anyone will ever stand in a room that I have lived in and touched the things that were once a part of my life and wonder about me? … now I’m thinking all the while of death in some shape or another. Every day is something to be got through…’ 

Jesus is able to set us free from the fear of death and to shine his light even into that dark valley. 

In a small village, there was once a boy and girl who each day had to walk through a church yard with all the graves to get to and from school.  

One day a minister in the village, got to thinking and wondered whether or not they would ever be afraid, in the cold, dark winter months as they walked back through that dark church yard together.  

He was very surprised, when asked, that the little boy said that they were not scared and so he asked why.  

The little boy said, because our father leaves the door of our home open and stands in the door way with the light on behind him with open arms ready to receive us as we go through the dark church yard.  

Jesus has already gone ahead of us and stands with arms open wide, ready to receive us into His heavenly home.  


With Jesus, the best is not in the past, nor is home behind and lost and gone.  

With Jesus the best is always still to come. Our Hiraeth for the people and places of our past, is transformed and changed to hiraeth and happy yearning and sweet nostalgia, no more for the past, but for the future. Jesus future, which he will share with us. 

‘The night is far spent, the day is at hand’ 

All of our lives have been lived under the shadow and darkness of night, we have never known anything else, in our world, which is out of orbit and gone wrong because of all that happened so long ago. 

We can understand this more easily with somethings; like pain and loss, hardship and disappointments, frustrations and broken relationships. 

But even the best bits of life; family and success, holidays and friends are in fact also shrouded by the night in which we are all living.  

But this night will not go on for ever. The night in which we now live will come to an end. 

It will not be long before it comes to an end. ‘The night is far spent’- the night is almost over!  

This time will not last forever, or even for very long, in fact it is fleeting and momentary, compared with what is to come; the night is far spent. 

This is the world’s last night. 

After this dark night draws to a close, the dawn will break, the shadows flee, and a new day will begin.  

That day is at hand! 

That new day, which will break upon the world when this night is finally spent, is the day that belongs to JESUS. 

It is the day in which Jesus comes back again from the city of God, just as he promised, to renew and restore all things, to set everything right and usher in his new creation, to make His home with us forever, when heaven and earth that have long been torn apart are reunited. 

Jesus, is coming to rid the universe of sin and death, suffering and evil forever and transform every atom, to renovate the cosmos and turn it into a glorious and wonderful family home, of unending life and possibility and future forever.  

‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there is no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying; now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be there God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…’ 

It is not the end of the world, but the beginning of the world as it should always have been, all things restored and set right and perfected forever. 

In other words it is the beginning of the best days, the beginning of the holidays!  

The new day, the beginning of the holidays is so close that it is not 10pm the night before, nor 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am! 

The night is far spent! 

It is 6am, the day is at hand- for those who have eyes to see- it is still dark outside but the birds are beginning to stir, the sky is beginning to turn orange- red and the light is starting to break in the east with the rising sun.  

The day is at hand, and the holidays are just about to begin!  

For us who do know and love Jesus, the best is not behind, in a home that has been lost, with a bleak and uncertain future ahead.  

For the Christian, the greatest and the best is always still ahead and still to come. 

Home is no longer behind in the past but ahead in the future, with Jesus. 


The real and true (Y) Mab Darogan, the Son of Destiny, has already come to the rescue of his people, to bring them life and salvation, at the turning of the tide.  

Old legends said that he came to these shores as a boy, but He certainly came as a man and won the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls across the land.  

The true and great liberator, long expected, who is ushering in a new and greater kingdom for this land, and for all its peoples, is none other than Jesus Christ.  

He breaks every chain, of addiction and of our past, and sets the captive free, setting us back on our feet again and bringing us back to life.  

He renews hearts and minds, comforts us in our homesickness for the past and our grief and yearning for what has been lost and turns us around to look ahead and lift up our heads towards the future, his glorious city and His great appearing.  

He belongs to the land of Wales and speaks the language of its people. 

An elderly Welsh lady, when urged to learn another language to communicate with him, replied; 

‘I do not perceive the necessity for my Saviour knows Welsh as well as I do. It is Welsh that I always speak to him, and that He always speaks to me. He knew Welsh when I was a little girl and we have talked Welsh together ever since.’ 

Jesus Christ has many times not only changed individual lives but whole nations. 

The story of our own nation, can be very briefly told by two of the most famous cups in history.  

The first was the Celtic Gundestrup cauldron, dating back about two millennia.  

Although it is a dazzling feat of artistry, it tells the dark story of Ireland’s pagan past, with grotesque and greedy gods satiated by horrific sacrifices.  

But the whole story of Ireland, was not fully told by that dark cauldron.  

There was another cup, made about seven centuries later, the Ardagh Chalice.  

This cup tells another and better story.  

It bears the names of the Peter, Andrew, James and John, and the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, together with images of birds and animals, used in Christian worship of the God who gave His own Son to die for the land and brings its peoples together as one.  

It is a cup of Holy Communion.  

Darkness to light. That is what Jesus has done to countless lives and whole nations.  


The world wants to go home, and yet it cannot get back home, nor can it ever fully and finally make its home here and now so far away from the home for which we were made and so it feels hiraeth; that homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of our past.’ 

Jesus turns us around, from grieving for the past to rejoicing for the future, from yearning for what was behind, to longing for what is ahead, from pain for what was lost, to happiness for what has been gained. 

With Jesus the best days are not gone and behind, but before and still to come, as He changes His family’s fortunes forever. 

If the pandemic brings the land back home it will not have been wasted. 

it is time to come back from exile to our own country, out of the pigsty into the party, no longer lost but found, and brought into the inside, of that magical place with that name which is stronger than magician ever spoke, the nicest word there is, which there is no place like.  

He is your true home, where your heart is, and where He is, heaven there.  

With him is where you belong, that place of your own, where you are safe, where all your questions are answered and there are no more dead ends. 

Where we are joined forever to the eternal Son of God, adopted as sons and daughters of the Father and included in the greatest Kingdom which this world has ever known. 

The sun will never set, upon this home and kingdom. 

The sun is rising upon it, for it is in ascendancy, as it will be forever, with an infinite future and vista of possibilities stretching ahead; of all our dreams come true, of more than we could ask or imagine, of plans and ambitions, things to do, places to go, people to see, in which our deepest longings are satisfied or sense of belonging is fulfilled, and we are at last able to be ourselves in our own place forever, in that glorious city of God and after that in the renovated and renewed universe, the home of righteousness, married to Jesus Christ, adopted by his almighty Father, brought into the Kingdom of the Spirit forever. 

When Wales comes back to Jesus Christ, you are not going somewhere strange, different or new, but to where you have belonged all along, to the God of your ancestors, who has never failed or broken even one of his promises.  

When Wales comes home to Jesus Christ, the valleys will sing again, of this God, who has been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  

Our nostalgia and homesickness are no longer for the past and what was lost but for Him, and for all that has been gained, for his future, and for all that is to come with Him. 

Only Jesus can set us free from hiraeth for the past and give us a new and happier hiraeth for the future. Our future together with Him. 

Its time for Wales to come home. 


Hiraeth: Episode 1 – Homesickness

Hiraeth: Episode 2 – Land of my Fathers

Hiraeth: Episode 3 – The Wrong Side of the Door

Hiraeth: Episode 4 – A Home Which Maybe Never Was

Hiraeth: Episode 5 – The Way Home

Hiraeth: Episode 6 – Into the Heart of Things