Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
- 1 Peter 4:9
So many conversations on homemaking focus on the nuts and bolts of cooking and cleaning, or on family discipleship. However, there is one homemaking talent that often gets neglected. We are called upon by God to extend hospitality to others and as the holiday season approaches, I suspect that many anticipate opening their homes just as much as I do.
That's right. I love my friends and I love making new friends, but the thought of opening my home makes me all but break out in hives. You see, in real life, I'm a rather bookish and somewhat introverted sort. And like a lot of bookish people, I have a houseful of books. It's probably hazardous. And that doesn't even touch the admission that sometimes I think I know more about relating to books than I do about entertaining people.
It's paradoxical, really. I love my friends, and I truly enjoy getting to know people and hear their stories. Big crowds make me tired and sometimes I'm shy about reaching out, and yet my heart knows that God created me to live in community with others. And so that still, small voice brings me out of myself seeking to connect with other people.
In that longing for connection I also feel called to bring people closer. We celebrate Thanksgiving, thanking God for all of the wonderful blessings He has showered on us. And we celebrate the birth of God's own Son. These are mighty things and even shy as I sometimes am, I want to share them with others and I feel God's call to extend hospitality to other people ever stronger this time of year.
Somehow in the busyness of everyday life, it seems like an indulgence to throw the chores aside and sit down to tea or coffee with a friend, or with someone new that might be a friend someday. Or the thought of changing up routines in order to have a Christmas open house might seem like too much. Yet I can tell you that I've never once regretted having done any of these things(not even the time I burned the turkey and we had Thanksgiving nachos and pizza from the only convenience store in town that was open!) and I know that God will give me what I need to reach outside my comfort zone and do it again.
When I do things to make my home cozy and inviting, I cherish the warmth that it creates for me and my husband. However, the more I think on it, the more it really does seem selfish not to extend that warmth. If I get lost in my own fears over not knowing what to say to people or my own sometimes disorganization, I'm not only missing a chance to make or deepen friendships for myself. More importantly, a chance to show love to others in Christ's name gets lost in the shuffle. Hospitality is an important part of our ministries from home and it is a way that we can, "love one another with brotherly affection," as Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:10.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares
- Hebrews 13:2
So, how do you normally extend hospitality to others? Do you have the gift of hospitality or is this something about which you need to be more purposeful? What do you plan to do to show hospitality this holiday season?
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