Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 01, 2011
|Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. -Romans 12:132 NIV |
We were blessed with a good trip over Thanksgiving to see many family members in three different places. The definition of hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. Greeted with love in each home was a blessing. Many preparations were made for us before we arrived to ensure that our visit was special and we were so grateful for the loving efforts.
While hospitality can mean having a clean house, a stocked refrigerator and being sure you are presentable to your guests, it still focuses on the host or hostess. Another way to define it is to be social or to entertain. I was interested to see what the Bible said about hospitality. Christian hospitality focuses on the guest. Meaning, the home doesn’t have to be perfect or food offered at all. Instead, it is lending an ear and listening if that is what is needed. This spiritual hospitality is centered around giving acceptance and approval to the guest. Perhaps providing a temporary home, meals or help of some kind. Some of the best times I have had were when my home wasn’t perfectly in order, my pantry was running low, but it didn’t matter as much as seeing and being with a person to lift them up, to listen, to laugh, to cry with or to celebrate life.
This season of Christmas offers many chances for us to practice hospitality, both as hosts and as guests. By focusing on God this season and the people that He brings into our life, we can enrich and be enriched by the experience. I remember years ago we had a Christmas Eve gathering of family and friends and one of our home renovation projects wasn’t fully completed. We simply hung a sign that said “under construction” and I remember that gathering was the best of all because the focus was on our guests, not on our surroundings. In the end, it will be the people we love and cherish, the people we help, the times we are helped that will be remembered in the spirit of genuine Christian hospitality.