At Least One

Be hope. Be hospitable.

Cinnamon boiling on the stove. The succulent aroma of homemade sweet potato pie. Carols playing throughout the house. This is Christmas to me. My Christmas this year is going to be very different now that I'm away from my family. I'm going to have to do some major adjusting to what will be my very first Christmas (and birthday) without my mom and sister present. While it's going to be very different, thankfully I'm not going to be alone for this beautiful holiday. I'll be celebrating with the warm and lovely people with whom I share a house. I have been very blessed and am very grateful to have housemates who practice hospitality. That brings me to the amazing message at church this morning. It wasn't too deep nor was it full of hard to understand Biblical jargon. It was easy to get and put into practice. The message was about hospitality.

Christmastime is a time where others so often open their homes to friends and family and maybe even strangers. It's something that is expected and welcomed. But what about the rest of the year? What happens to our hospitality or "Christmas Spirit" in the spring and summer and fall? People in general tend to be so much more friendly and accommodating as Christmas nears but it seems that as soon as December 26th comes around, everyone is "back to normal". This shouldn't be, especially for Christ followers. We should be engaging in hospitality all year round. Our kindness, gentleness, helpfulness, and caring and loving attitudes should not only be displayed "in time for the holidays" then end after all of the presents have been opened. We need to be that same glimmer of hope everyday of the year. We could be the only image of Jesus that someone will see and we shouldn't wait for a holiday to reflect Him.

Christmas can be so hard for a lot of people and often times, it is. We who hold the Hope of the world in our hearts should be displaying hospitality and love even when the rest of the world seems to go back into hibernation. If there is one thing my mother taught me, it is to walk in God's love. And His love is not what you hear being sung about on the radio in today's "love songs". **God's love is patient and kind without jealousy and envy. His love is never boastful or proud, there is no rudeness or selfishness in it. See, God's love looks out for and thinks of others at all times, not just when snowmen and reindeer come out to play. The Bible encourages us to be hospitable but we have to know how to implement it. My Pastor's wife, Briana, highlighted some great points for putting hospitality in action:

  • Be strategic and organized- learn about those to whom you seek to open your home or living space. Carefully consider how to go about sharing your home with them. Make sure you have the space and make sure your space is inviting, warm and clean.
  • Be ready to welcome- again, be warm and inviting and make it a goal of yours to have those around you feel as though they matter.
  • Entertain strangers- be willing to put yourself out there and possibly be a little uncomfortable by inviting someone over who you don't know well (using wisdom, of course). Often, we as Christians forget that we will be in uncomfortable situations just by walking in love towards others. It's not always going to feel pleasant but we can't shy away from being gracious and kind to someone especially during this time of year when so many are hurting and need to see hope.
The Bible teaches us that in showing hospitality to others, **some have entertained angels. That's amazing to me and makes me wonder. Briana put it like this, if we can create an atmosphere in our lives that would invite angels, how much more so should we be inviting to those with whom we work and see on a daily basis. Church, we have to do better. We have to love better. We cannot lose ourselves in the busyness and sometimes rushed pace of preparing for Christmas. Look out for those who have no family to be with or who you know are dealing with difficult feelings this year. If you're able, invite them over to spend part of or all of Christmas with you and yours. Remember those who are alone this year and don't be shy in opening your heart and home to them. Let's be purposeful in reaching at least one person, not just during this merry time but everyday.

** Scripture references
1st Corinthians 13
Hebrews 13:2
Happy only 7 more days until Christmas (and 9 until my b-day)!!

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