My Christian writing group was meeting at my new home for the first time. None of the members had been to mine before so I tried to make the travelling directions as easy as possible. Whether they were coming by bus or car I sent them a little map I’d drawn myself. I also suggested that people used their SatNav or downloaded Google Earth. At the last moment I found some bunting I had and draped it on my bushes. I wanted people to feel welcome.

I’m pleased to say everyone found my home easily and we had a pleasant afternoon. But it made me think about the welcome we will receive into heaven. The time is coming for all of us when we will be standing at the gates of heaven. Having left this earth we will be battered and bruised, worn and weary. Like my visitors we won’t have been there before. It is a moment we have reflected on and waited for. Will there be bunting out in our honour?

Having read the story of the Prodigal Son, we can imagine the welcome that our Heavenly Father will have for us. Our time on earth will have seemed long as we wait, but it is only a blink in the Father’s eye. The last steps to the heavenly gate might have been extra difficult. But as we arrive the angels will be rejoicing and the welcome will be ‘out of this world’! By His grace alone we will have countered all the schemes of the devil. The welcome will be far more than a strip of bunting!