We can hear it as we pull into our driveway, a high-pitched yipping that turns into instant energy that bursts upon us as we open the front door. Emma is glad we're home. She squeals, she dances, she runs in circles in utter ecstasy. We don't have one of those fancy electronic fences, and we failed to train her as well as we should have, so when we go away, Emma gets locked in the house after we've secured the furniture by shutting the bedroom doors and putting the dining room chairs on the stuffed chair and living room couch which she otherwise thinks are there for her convenience and pleasure. If we're going to be gone for an entire day or overnight, she gets to visit her friend Ruby courtesy of our very gracious daughter and son in law. For shorter stretches, she is confined to our house, apparently a great infraction of canine law.
Everyone should at least once in their lifetime be the cause of such wild joy. We would be happy to make that happen by renting Emma out for an afternoon. You will never have felt so wanted as you will when you walk in your front door to Emma's antics. Of course, I'm not reflecting on Emma's joy at our return because it has significance for world history. I'm thinking tonight of Jesus' promised return for his bride, the Church. He's been a long time gone, and it's tempting to think he's never coming back, much like Emma's small brain can't tell whether we're gone for good, or just for a short while. It's been a long time, but his promise is greater than the centuries, and his coming is nearer today than it was yesterday.
The question is, "How will we receive him?" Do I wait with eager anticipation, listening for the sound of his footsteps outside the door, or am I slumbering senselessly, not paying attention, not caring, not looking for his soon return? I wonder if I will receive him joyfully, with shouts of joy and praiseworthy dancing, or if I will be wishing he would stay away so I can attend to my own business and desires. Emma can be exasperating at times, but there is no doubt about her love and loyalty to us. May Jesus be able to say the same about us; that though we may be exasperating, our loyalty is unquestioned. Tonight I am thankful for Emma, our loyal and loveable mutt who unwittingly teaches me about myself and about Jesus' Second Coming.