"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling..." says I Peter 4:9. Sometimes that's hard to do! I've had to catch myself in conversation with a friend listing off all the things on my to do list for the day and adding, "and so and so is coming to visit or coming for dinner so I had to go to Costco and clean my house...yada, yada, yada!" Yet, when our guests arrive, all the preparation is forgotten because we have such a wonderful time and I find myself saying to my husband, "We need to do that more often!" Sigh...
Sometimes I need to remind myself that there is a difference between hospitality and entertaining. A huge difference. Entertaining means "to grab or hold the attention of someone". All the focus is on the hostess to do a great job...lovely, delicious, and well presented meals, a beautifully decorated home, a fun party atmosphere...in other words, the focus is making yourself look good. Hospitality means "a generous and cordial reception of guests". The focus is on the guest...what would make them feel comfortable? What would make them feel at home? What would make them feel welcomed? It's more relaxed...it's more real. Being hospitable is like saying, "This is how we live...come join us...we are glad you are here." See what I mean? A big difference between the two!
When guests are coming to stay, I try to remember things that I forget to pack sometimes in my rush to get ready to go. Things like...toothpaste or toothbrush, skin lotion, a nail file, a shaver. Or, I think about staying in someone's home and getting thirsty during the night...or craving a little snack. In an effort to make our guests feel welcomed and comfortable, I put together small "care" packages for their guest rooms....along with clean towels and maybe a bathrobe. My goal? To make them feel at home...at ease.
I'm thankful for a mother who modeled hospitality...always making my friends and others feel welcomed. I'm thankful for aunts on both sides of my extended family who also were hospitable...making me feel warm and loved. I'm still learning...to "practice hospitality," (Rom 12:13). And... I love it when God decides to bless our guests with a sunrise like the one this morning!