Every year for quite some time, we have been visited by an attractive little bird. He spends several months in our garden, but when it is time to build his nest, he leaves. He seems to say "This is not my home, I am just a visitor."

We have formed a bond with him and he seems to know it. Whenever we are in the garden he seems to seek us out, taking nectar from the flowers closest to us and hovering nearby.

Every year, we hope he might stay. However, he seems to have other duties and must be on his way. When he leaves, the garden seems empty even though there are still many other lovely birds still left. Nothing compares with him and we look forward to his return.

This year, we thought he had gone. Sometimes, however, we seemed to hear his song or we seemed to glimpse him high in the trees. We could not be certain; they were just fleeting echoes, but we kept alert and remained watchful and hopeful. Was he gone or had he only withdrawn for a while?

This morning, cup of tea in hand, I stepped outside. The garden was coming out of winter rest and a favorite rose was putting on its foliage. There was a distinct flutter of wings and our bird was there. He landed on the rose bush close by and looked at me. Then he sang triumphantly, loud and clear, for the whole garden to hear! He was staying with us! He was no longer a visitor; he had made our garden his home.

His song was a reminder to me that Jesus visited us for a while, then left because he had other duties to attend to. Sometimes we seem to hear him or catch a glimpse him. We hear what seem to be echoes of his reality, drawing us towards him. He has withdrawn for a while and the garden seems empty, but we are quite certain that one day it will overflow with song and joy at his return. He will make his home with us. He will be close by and will seek our company:

Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

We hear what seem to be echoes ...
It is every reason to be alert and watchful and hopeful, isn't it?