With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, this is the season where our performance kicks in to drive. After feasting on turkey, Christmas parties are close behind… then Christmas…then New Years. For many people this season is stressful and can be downright exhausting; the planning, the traveling, the cleaning, the cooking, and the cleaning after cooking. In one short season what should be a joyous fun-filled celebration quickly becomes a burden we can’t wait to get over with. Then we have roughly 330 days to prepare to do it all over again.
Where does our performance drive come from in this season? Are we obsessed with having the Pinterest-perfect table setting? Food worthy of the Food Network itself? For the majority of the people, the holiday season is the time their homes are open most – welcoming in family, friends, neighbors and sometimes the unexpected guest. We mask our obsession with making all things perfect for the holidays under the disguise of hospitality. There’s nothing wrong with having a sparkling clean house or a beautiful table setting or even an amazing meal. But these things are not what should drive our hospitality during this season or any season.
To the Christian our hospitality is driven by a love for God and our neighbor. (Mark 12:30-31). Hospitality is just one small evidence or display to others of how we love God. When our hospitality is rooted in God’s love for us and ours for Him and others, it is then that we are free from the pressure to entertain or impress those who enter our homes but rather to create an environment were people feel welcomed and loved. When people enter and leave your home they should experience and see a glimpse of God’s love through you.
No matter the holiday or special event- whenever my family would visit our grandparents they were always prepared for -what we called in our family- the unexpected stranger (this would be anyone who was passing by and hungry or the people my grandma would have invited over while volunteering at the nursing home or community center). There would be plenty of food cooked, an extra plate often out for anyone who may stop by for a meal. They were always ready, never felt put out, and eager to welcome someone to sit at their dinner table with us. This is a small glimpse of what Christ has done for us.
We have experienced the greatest hospitality ever given through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection when he made a way for us to freely be welcomed to know God and experience his grace. This is our motivation: “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7). When we open our homes, share our food, our time, and our resources, we are inviting others into our family and community to experience far more than we can ever offer on our own.
Our hospitality points the friends and strangers who enter our homes during this season to something far more than what we have here on this earth. Delight in the beauty of this coming season -from the delicious meal to the beautiful decorations and the many people who will walk in your home. Let your home and time with people be a glimpse of what is to come in all eternity.