Truly, anyone welcoming my messenger is welcoming me. And to welcome me is to welcome the Father who sent me. [John 13:20 (TLB)]

IMG_6094webbWhen our children were growing up, like most parents, we had certain “magic” words in our house. We tried to teach our little ones the basic rules of politeness. When you do something wrong—say, “I’m sorry.” If you want something—say, “Please.” When you’re given something—say, “Thank you.” If you do something for someone else—say, “You’re welcome.”

I read a delightful story about a little boy who apparently had been learning the “magic” words at his house. When saying his first prayers, he knew there was something he had to say to God but got a bit confused. “Dear God,” he started and then continued with, “You’re welcome!” I wonder, though, did he really use the wrong phrase? Before thanking God for His bountiful gifts, perhaps we should be sure to welcome Him into our lives. Many of us have a welcome mat at our front doors; do we have a welcome mat at the entrance to our hearts? God’s not a door-to-door salesman or delivery man to be kept standing outside on the porch; He’s an honored guest. Before we get into the nitty gritty of our prayers, before we thank Him for gifts received or ask for future blessings, perhaps we should first welcome Him and ask Him inside.

One of our pastors always starts her morning prayer with, “Good morning, Lord, it’s so nice to see your face!” Much like saying, “You’re welcome!” she greets God with her words, acknowledges His presence, and opens wide the doors to our hearts. May He come into our lives, not just during prayers, but at all times and in all places. He is, indeed, welcome!

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city that murders the prophets. The city that stones those sent to help her. How often I have wanted to gather your children together even as a hen protects her brood under her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now—now your house is left desolate. And you will never again see me until you say, “Welcome to him who comes in the name of the Lord.” [Luke 13:34-35 (TLB)]

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