Unless you are a Martha Stewart type, the subject of hospitality may be one that causes a bit of an internal struggle. When we prepare our homes for visitors and find ourselves stressing out over the details, we are "entertaining" which is vastly different from 'hospitality'. Here is the difference:
Entertain: To hold the attention of with something amusing or diverting.
Hospitality: Cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.
"Entertaining can be stressful; it feels like everything has to be perfect before your guests arrive—and the perfection must continue throughout the visit with the food, décor, conversation, and games. Hospitality is not about perfection or appearances... In fact, hospitality says I’m not perfect and neither is my home, but please come over anyway and fellowship. Hospitality has an open door / open life policy; whereas, entertaining says wait until I have everything perfect then come over. Entertaining is exhausting, and when hospitality is confused with entertaining it can lead to an avoidance of hospitality all together."
It has taken my several years to move beyond entertaining to opening our home with a spirit of hospitality. When the focus is on the guest and blessing them, it removes the stress of holding up a sometimes impossible standard. It gives from the heart, where true treasures can be shared.
Instead of perfection, focus on graciousness. People won’t remember your menu in six months. They won’t remember what color scheme your table was, what place-card holders you used, or what you wore. They will never forget how you made them feel. They’ll remember the feel of your home.
A home that loves, that's the feel I want for all who enter.
Over the Christmas season, we hosted our church deacon dinner. As I prepared to open our home and sought for a hospitable heart, the reminder of grace came as I recalled who I was and from where the Lord has brought me. A teenage girl making poor choices, heading straight into a life without hope who grasped the offer of salvation as a young engaged woman. Our marriage and home has been built from God's grace and through the years, we have grown and matured in the Lord. He has made my life a life of transformation. Grace was poured out on me and is alive and well to be poured out to others, especially in our home!