What a story – a celebration of the return of a sinner. Not a condemnation of the poor choices made, instead a “welcome home, all is forgiven”. This isn’t some Hollywood script; it is a story from the Book of Luke. The parable of the lost son in Luke 15:11-32 is a familiar story from the Bible, and one we sometimes see play out around us. A child who makes poor choices, turns against the good advice of a parent, and eventually returns…but earthly parents don’t always forgive and forget, or welcome back the wayward child. As parents we might scorn and scold, or worse, withhold love and not even consider forgiveness as an option. In the story of the prodigal son, the father is a picture of the Heavenly Father; God waiting patiently, with loving compassion to restore us when we return to Him with humble hearts. He offers us everything in His kingdom, restoring our full relationship with joyful celebration, and with complete forgiveness. He doesn’t even dwell on our past mistakes and sinful ways–he is there to welcome, forgive, and offer grace. Forgiveness is not earned or deserved. It isn’t an entitlement – it is a gift. God is seeking sinners and is ready to forgive if they return, to offer unconditional love. The greatest gift we will ever receive is one we don’t deserve, certainly not one we will ever earn. Forgiveness is that greatest gift and our Heavenly Father is waiting to grant that gift – the amazing gift of grace.