It seems that once we see that date on our calendar stating “First Day of Fall,” our thoughts fly ahead to the holidays… which then seems to engender all kinds of emotions, ranging from nostalgic to absolute dread. To help sort the potential conflicting thoughts that can be involved as we move closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, let’s take a look at the word hospitality. Beginning with what God has given us in His Word. In 1 Peter 4:9 we read, “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:2, “A bishop then must be… hospitable…” Since the latter Scripture does refer to him having a wife, it is fair to assume she also is to demonstrate that quality. Hospitality is one of those special graces God gives and it literally means to love, to do, or to do with pleasure.
In a classic Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary, hospitality is defined as: “the act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward. Disposed to treat guests with generous kindness.”
So why is it that many women today seem to have an aversion to hospitality? Some may come from an incorrect view of what hospitality is supposed to be. We spend time watching those wonderful TV programs about cooking and decorating and we enjoy reading wonderful books on being hospitable and encouraging us to open our homes… so what happened? Perhaps we compare ourselves to these polished perspectives or even to friends who have that special gift of taking something of apparently little worth and turning it into a masterpiece. As a result, we lose heart, and maybe give up on being hospitable altogether. Unfortunately, is seems that the practice of hospitality has been replaced with the concept of perfection and then becomes an excuse as to why we cannot entertain.
So for those who think they are challenged in this area, does it really get us off the hook? A verse to consider is 2 Corinthians 10:5, which states: “taking every thought captive, making it obedient to Christ.” So how does that apply to hospitality? Well, what thoughts keep you from opening your home to others? Shall we try…our home is too small, I’m not a good cook, I’m not an outgoing person, we’re not much for entertaining… and the list goes on.
Have you noticed how many negatives are in those phrases? Now let’s take those thoughts captive. We know we “can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.” We can follow the admonition in 1 Peter to “be hospitable to one another.” And please note the “without grumbling!” Nowhere in Scripture does it say to demonstrate hospitality only if you are a good cook, have a big house, are outgoing, or any other type of checklist. Hospitality is about relationships not culinary skills. It is a matter of opening our home not only to those whose company we enjoy and who we know will have us over in return, but in a truly Biblical sense, hospitality is opening our home to all with no thought of reciprocation or even gratitude.
Think of the awesome opportunity of demonstrating God’s unconditional love to those in or outside of your family, those who may not know Him and who may even ridicule your beliefs. Remember our purpose and why we do what we do… it is not for our glory but for His. Our lives are to reflect His love and make God bigger so others can see Him. As you enjoy Thanksgiving and continue to prepare for Christmas, take time to focus on the chance for God to demonstrate His love though you as you kindly and generously show hospitality to all.
From the Board of Christian Family Heritage, we wish you and your family a Blessed Thanksgiving and a Glorious Christmas!