HAPPY THE HOME WHEN GOD IS THERE
Henry Ware Jr., 1794–1843
… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
The beauty of the home is order; the blessing of the home is contentment;
The glory of the home is hospitality; the crown of the home is godliness.
This is the season when our attention is especially directed to the basic social institution in society, the home, with special days for recognizing mothers, fathers, and children. The strength of any nation is the quality of its homes. “In love of home, the love of country has its rise” said Charles Dickens.
Home should be the holy of holies in a person’s life, a place where ultimate love and acceptance are found between parents and with the children. The real test of a parent’s spirituality is his home life—the daily demonstration of a Christ-like character. As parents, our responsibility is not only to feed and clothe our children’s bodies, but to nurture their spirits, their minds, and their moral values. By word and by personal example we must carefully guide our children and fervently seek to show them what it means to be a Christian. Good parenting also involves maintaining strong lines of communication between all members of the family. This demands quality time spent together in discussions, social times, daily spiritual retreats, and weekly periods of instruction and worship in the local church.
This fine text was written by an ordained Unitarian minister, Henry Ware, who later became pastor of the Second Unitarian Church in Boston, Massachusetts. The well-known American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, served for a time as Ware’s assistant. The hymn first appeared in Selection of Hymns and Poetry for Use of Infant and Juvenile Schools and Families, published in 1846.
Happy the home when God is there and love fills ev’ry breast, when one their wish and one their prayer and one their heav’nly rest.
Happy the home where Jesus’ name is sweet to ev’ry ear, where children early lisp His fame and parents hold Him dear.
Happy the home where prayer is heard and praise is wont to rise, where parents love the sacred Word and all its wisdom prize.
Lord, let us in our homes agree this blessed peace to gain; unite our hearts in love to Thee, and love to all will reign.
For Today: Deuteronomy 6:7 Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 5:21–23; 6:4
Reflect on ways that you could improve the quality of your home. Does God really have His rightful place as the foundation of the home? Carry this musical message with you as you seriously consider these matters—