This Christmas, I seem to be more prepared than I have been for years. I actually made a Christmas cake - for possibly the third time in my life - a few weeks ago. Safely stored in its tin, it will take only an hour to cover it with marzipan and icing. Today I made mince pies, with pastry so delicious that it literally melted in the mouth. The tree is up, the house simply decorated, the cards written - only email greetings left, which I will look forward to doing on Monday morning, sitting in front of the fire with a cappuchino to hand. Even the presents are wrapped.
And I am waiting.
I have never had to wait so long, before, for my children to come home for Christmas. It is a whole extra week this time, a long 7 days. Now they have left uni, 'term-time' no longer applies. They come when they can.
And I am not alone.
One friend is desperate to see her 12 year old son, a talented tennis player who attends a specialist academy - in Spain.
Another hasn't seen her 25 year old for almost a year. Newly engaged, he is travelling from Australia with his fiancee.
Several others wait for their children to return from uni, or from jobs. All gathering for Christmas.
for the presence of the loved.
A tiny glimpse
into our God's heart
waiting for His children
to come home.