When we got our first dog, Wonder, a few years ago, we all loved to watch how excited she would get when the doorbell rang or someone came home. It doesn’t even matter how long we’d been gone! She knows something very important is happening the moment she hears the garage door open. Before Joe’s foot even crosses the threshold, she's jumping on him and running in circles with delight.
Many dog lovers know this as one of the perks of having a dog: every single time you walk in the door, someone is really, really happy to see you. That does wonders for your soul.
Joe and I have always incorporated what we now call the “Wonder Welcome” into our family culture. Daily, warm greetings are a simple way to make our spouses - and anyone around us - feel seen, loved, and valued.
Since the kids were little, we make a big deal when Daddy comes home. They used to love looking out the window watching and waiting for his car. Now that they are older, they don’t scream quite as loudly when Joe arrives home, but the principle is the same. We stop what we’re doing to at least say, Hey, welcome home, Dad! I love to greet Joe at the door to help him with his things and give him a hug and a kiss, although I often trip over the dog trying to do so!
Joe is so intentional about expressing his love when any of us leave. Joe has dealt with a lot of loss growing up and often never had the chance to say goodbye to people he cared for. So it’s especially important to him that we always connect before any of us depart. One more hug and one more I love you. This is one of the amazing ways Joe communicates his love to me and our kids.
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7
Warm greetings are modeled for us in the Bible as well. So many of Paul’s letters to the church begin and end with him sending greetings to his brothers in Christ. He often writes of the joy we have when we see our friends face to face. And what a privilege it is to express that love to each other, whenever we can.
Those warm and enthusiastic greetings that we share with each other are so powerful. The greetings that say, “You are a really big deal to me. Wow! I am so happy to see you.” We have a chance to do that every day as we say hello and goodbye to our loved ones. Don’t leave that job to the dog!
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12