Thursday, May 14, 2009

Welcome Home!

About 10 days ago, a dear friend came home for a short visit from her European home where she's a missionary. We gathered with 4 generations of her family members and many friends to welcome her "home." Sadly, our family packed too much into the afternoon, and the plane arrived about 10 minutes early, so we missed the actual moment of arrival, but considered ourselves the 2nd wave of welcome. :) My daughter made a colorful poster saying "Welcome Home," and some friends wore party hats in honor of the event. Our friend has savored time with loved ones, trying to do a lot of catching up. We've hosted parties for her to give time to be with many who love her and to share her journey. There's been much hugging, talking, sharing, laughing, and prayer. A homecoming is a wonderful thing.

With summer vacation around the corner, many of us will plan visits "home," where we will be given a warm welcome. I always smile from the inside out when I drive up, and my folks stand in the doorway. My dad stands the way he does when he's hovering over a pot of something really good on the stove that's about to be served. My mom stands with her hands clasped, looking like a little girl who's about to get a big ice cream cone. They do the same thing every time. They hug us each individually, look us over, and say our names with a long, extended syllable at the end of each name. It's a great moment. Then ... we usually feast. :) The sisters and their families come, and we feast some more. Homecoming.

Our airport welcoming party made me think of how awesome the biggest homecoming of all will be. Even now, the host of heaven anticipates our arrival, planning to welcome us (and NOT be late). I wonder if they'll have hats. Who needs a hat, when you have wings? I wonder if they'll have signs? Who needs signs, when you have trumpets? Our Heavenly Father and His court will stand with anticipation of something wonderful LONG anticipated. We'll be so amazed that they've welcomed us home, and then we'll feast and share and laugh and sing and give praise. John 14 tells us that preparations are being made even now.

Visiting "home" here always has the bittersweet promise of departure. Our friend will leave in just over a week, and we will "miss." When I leave my Virginia family, they do the same thing I remember my Grandma doing when we left her. They stand in the door watching us until they can't see anymore, waving, and they always get teary. But the "ultimate homecoming" will have no tears. We will never have to leave each other. We will be completely and forever "home."

Revelation 21:3-4 (New International Version)

3And 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 their God. 4He 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."

As you become a "guest" or welcome a "guest" this summer, let it be a reminder that the greatest welcome is yet to come!

1 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Courtney said...

Great analogy - so true!