The lost art of hospitality

Published 10:07 am Thursday, December 21, 2023

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:9-10
The other day, I was invited to breakfast at a friend’s house. I anticipated having a seat at the table and enjoying some type of food, with the host saying, “help yourself” to cereal or grits. While an invitation to someone’s home is special, the gift of hospitality is rarely displayed these days. The days when people’s homes were open, and friends, family members, and neighbors gathered seem like scenes from a Currier and Ives painting, not a reflection of real life in 2023.
Upon entering the warm home adorned with Christmas decorations and trees, I was immediately welcomed and asked if they could take my coat. The hostess, with her apron and a warm smile, was busily putting the final touches on the breakfast feast. Despite a fairly large group in the kitchen, everything was meticulously planned, from seating arrangements to name cards in front of each place. I was dumbfounded, thinking I did not do anything to deserve such royal treatment.
Internally, I observed the host engaging in conversation, while the hostess skillfully passed on one breakfast delight after another, adorning the table with casseroles, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, and an endless array of plates. The table setting resembled something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie, and all the guys around the table, looking like grubby set workers, knew we weren’t good-looking enough to be the actors who might receive such treatment. Perhaps that’s why the gift of hospitality is so rare; it’s a gift, but it takes a lot of effort!
But there was more – we played a game, listened to Christmas music, and even received a parting gift. The gift of hospitality is something God encourages us to use to serve others, and this host and hostess truly honored God by doing so. As Christmas approaches, are you extending hospitality to anyone?

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