Hospitality...the word itself sometimes immediately brings a fond memory doesn't it? It's not just a word, but a feeling. A feeling of welcome and sharing. For Christians, it is an act of love, outreach and extension of love and kindness.
My earliest attempts at hospitality included huge birthday cook outs or a family Christmas dinner. They usually turned out pretty well, but consisted of me cleaning until the house was spotless, spending all day in the kitchen, enjoying our guests and then just as much clean up afterward as there was before they arrived. It was a lot of work and I would add to the pressure by making sure everything was 'perfect'.
After studying hospitality and realizing although I was being hospitable, my attitude needed some adjustments. True hospitality comes from the heart and welcomes anyone, at anytime when the house is in any condition! It is an open door to the home, in the midst of it's daily life.
This week found opportunity to open our home and make memories! After receiving a ton of green beans, a friend and I planned to spend the day canning the beans. She and her children came over and we got to work. As the children played and we worked, the day wore on. A neighbor stopped by and visited, my teenage son had some friends come in and out. In the midst of green beans on the floor, jars and dishes spread over every inch of spare space, popcorn on the carpet, teenage boys walking in and out, all were welcomed and true hospitality was shared. A welcome that embraced and enjoyed friends instead of worrying how the home appeared. The more we talked it seems that things like canning vegetables brought up memories of the old days, working together in the home to get things done. So amidst the mess, I realized that maybe in the hearts of the 5 children and 5 or so teenagers wandering in and out, some memories were made.
When the day was over, dishes were washed, floors swept, carpets vacuumed, and a beautiful time of reflection and thanksgiving remained along with the lesson of true hospitality. It may get messy, but it's worth it!!