Do you have memories of being welcomed home? As a child I remember running through tall spooky pine trees at night between our neighbors' houses to get home and the relief, as I neared our house, of seeing the lights on and my dad waiting for me in the chair by the window. As a college student we would return home, hungry from the long drive. My mom welcomed us home with one of our favorite meals. The house would smell so good. When my children would come home from school, sometime we'd have a snack or "tea" together to talk about our day. Sometimes, in the nice weather, I'd wait on the front porch chairs with iced tea or lemonade. And, I've always had a dog to welcome me home at the end of the work day as well. Today I have to be careful when my grandson comes over that I don't just engage with him, but also welcome my children as well.
Being welcomed feels so good, whether it is to our own home or someone else's home. In our lesson this week we catch a glimpse of God in the Prodigal Son's Father. Despite how his son has behaved, he welcomes him home with open arms. Wouldn't we do the same for our children?
In John 14:2 Jesus tells His disciples, "There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you?" (The Message) Someone is waiting for us, preparing a place for us, can hardly wait to be with us, longing to have us home again, to welcome us.
Until that time, what do you do to welcome your family home? If you'd like to share anything, I'd be glad to include your tips. Here are a few taken from the father of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:21-25)
- He saw him and ran to him. Now we probably don't want to do that every day, but we can turn on the porch light after dark as a sign that we are waiting for our family to come home.
- He welcomed him with a kiss and a hug.
- He had food ready to eat whether it is dinner or a snack.
- They celebrated. Show that you are glad to have your family home. Take time for meaningful conversation around the dinner table.
- There was music and dancing. Have some times when you just celebrate being together; movie night, reading night, game night, special dinners with a geographical theme, or celebrations of special events in the life of your family.