I stepped off the airplane and moved down the ramp with my luggage. I flew into Grand Island, NE this time, a small town with an even smaller airport. As I walked toward the single gate, I see my dad right in front, looking and waiting for me to get there. He hugs me, grabs my luggage away from me and we head out to the car.
After we're buckled in and on the road, his cell rings. He answers and I hear my brother's voice say "Has she landed yet?" I laugh at the tone of his voice. Our plane was 30 minutes late, but I knew Randy was impatient for my arrival. He's always been that way.
After a few minutes, my dad hangs up the phone and tells me that Randy has prepared a vehicle for me to drive for the week if I need it; being from a family of farmers we rarely have a shortage of extra pick ups and SUVs around. He asked if I wanted to pick it up on the way or if Randy should take it up to the house. I told him we could simply stop by the shop to pick it up to save him a trip. (After all, it is a 12 mile drive.)
Dad and I made our way through town with Mom's list of things to do before we came home on the dashboard in front of me. We stopped at my brother's bank (he's a fancy VP there) and dropped off some cookies for his co-workers. I needed to stop at Walgreens to get the liquids that wouldn't fit into my quart-size bag on the flight. Lunch stop at Valentino's (my favorite pizza!) and we were finally on our way home.
I realized something I've never thought about before: Jesus is not the only one people wait for during the Advent season. I was someone my family had waited for, too. All the preparations had been made, from the flight pickup, to the car, to the sheets on the guest bed being cleaned. I hadn't been home since last Christmas. In some ways, it felt like it had been forever. In others, it felt like I never left.
As we get older, move away from home and establish a life separate from our families, coming "home" feels different. I waited for it, desperately homesick, needing a break from ministry and from Arizona. I needed a break from people needing me, and I needed to be in a place where I could just be me, and not the one others expect me to be. I am blessed that my family gets that. They get me. They even made preparations for me and waited for me.
Not everyone gets that. How blessed am I?