“Nobody cares!” I told her. “The house looks fine.” I huffed and puffed, while my mom continually cleaned the house before guests would arrive. Back then I prided myself on my “chill” attitude about people coming to visit. And then I got married and had my own place.
I have been married just over a year, and due to our home being a studio apartment, there was a time I felt we could not truly host like I wanted. Instead of seeing the potential, I saw the inadequacies. I saw the tiny indoors, instead of the plentiful yard. But once I was able to see the potential, my husband and I dubbed ourselves the “Bonfire People.” He dug a fire pit, we bought a few chairs, a fold-up table, and some pretty, twinkly lights. And before long, we had a cute little outdoor setting.
Besides, we all know that true hospitality has little to do with the house, and more to do with the heart of the home–what you feel as you walk in, the way you are greeted, and invited to relax. The most beautiful thing about your home cannot be purchased.
I have been able to experience true hospitality from several families. They had very different houses, but they all made me feel like I was both a special visitor and that I was one of the family.
In particular, I had just flown from Guam to Texas for my friend’s wedding. We all stayed at her future in-laws. The large, country home was bursting at the seams with wedding paraphernalia and people. And even in the clamor, their home was so very welcoming, and I felt so very comfortable.
About the second day, I was delirious from the 13 hour time difference, and stayed back one afternoon to nap, while everyone else ran around finishing wedding details. Shuffling downstairs to the kitchen, I found myself opening the pantry door to rummage around for a snack. I thought to myself, “Audrey Ann! What are you doing? You don’t even know these people! Your mother would be ashamed!”
But the beauty of their home was the way I felt free to find a snack in their pantry, and they way they invited me for morning coffee on their porch, the day before their son’s wedding. In essence, the beauty of their home was that they cared; they cared about me.
If the goal of hosting is to show off your home or your cooking skills or even (in our case) your bonfire-making skills, you have missed the point. It is always about showing people the love and care of Jesus. As my pastor said, “Make your home an embassy for Christ.” I would also add, make it a haven. There is so much craziness in this world, and so many people need a place where they are safe, cared for, and can even rummage through your pantry (on rare occasions like jet lag).
Keep the Faith,
Photo 1: Google Images/dwnloadwallpapers.com
Photo 2: Norman Rockwell/Google Images/mosbybuildingarts.com