Some of us love to entertain. We have closets devoted to china collections, decorations, and extra linens. The holidays mean that we will see people that we have been missing...and we eagerly anticipate a full house, laughter, and fun. Hours will be spent cleaning, cooking, baking, and preparing a place. One friend on Facebook recently announced that she was finished putting up the first of several trees in her house. It was mid-November.
Others will be traveling instead. Taking vacation days...coming by train, plane, or automobile...looking forward to home cooking and time together.
Hospitality is defined as the entertainment of guests, visitors, and strangers with goodwill. It is also the act of generously providing care and kindness to whoever is in need. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) It is a biblical directive as well in Romans 12. We understand about showing hospitality to guests...but perhaps not so much in the arena of strangers.
This season there will be a number of people who either cannot get home or who do not have anywhere to go. The Christmas season is quiet and uneventful...and sadly...a bit depressing. Some families show hospitality by working a meal at the Salvation Army, by donating money, canned goods or toys to a charity, or by inviting local college kids who cannot get home in for a meal. It is difficult to say what opportunities you will have to express hospitality, but I'd be willing to bet that you will be presented with several opportunities.
All of us know excellent hospitality when we are the recipients of it. We feel included, pampered, or just simply at home. We love going to these places because it gives us a feeling that everything is right with the world. For many of us, that joy is found in going home. Passing the familiar landmarks of the town you grew up in, seeing the house lit up for Christmas, and opening the door to familiar smells and sounds. Or perhaps, we have been a guest in a home where the hosts have attempted to make us comfortable and we've been refreshed by the luxury of not having to worry about anything except enjoying ourselves.
This Christmas, we have numerous opportunities to be both a recipient and a giver of hospitality...and those opportunities will be as unique as we are. We should appreciate the effort that others expend on our behalf and keep our eyes open for chances to offer a little of the same to other people. The irony is...the more we do for others...the more that we are blessed in turn for our efforts.
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!