What does holiday hospitality mean to you? Do you think of a spotless home, a lavish spread of food, fashionably dressed guests, elaborate party favors, and amazing gifts? What if, instead, hospitality conjured images of your home filled with family and friends, but also those who would otherwise spend the holidays alone.
Recently, we hosted friends at our home. We dressed casually, laughed a lot, and enjoyed being together. As our friends were leaving, one hug was accompanied with the words, “It was a wonderful, relaxing evening.” That is one of the best compliments a hostess can receive.
Following are some things to remember about the holidays and hospitality:
Loneliness is Real and Prevalent
So much about the holidays revolves around family, but there are those who are in a season of life when family and friends are absent. Your small act of kindness can break through the loneliness bubble and bring joy and hope. You’ll be surprised to discover you are blessed in ways you never expected and receive more from those with whom you interact than you give.
Grief Doesn’t Take a Break for the Holidays
Just as we are, many are grieving while they are celebrating this year. You may be “doing” the holidays for the first time without a loved one. New grief or delayed grief may be causing you to miss those who long ago left this world.
An alternate scenario is grief for a childhood that was less than idyllic and holiday celebrations were non-existent.
Whatever your situation, remember grief doesn’t take a break during the holidays and you don’t have to force yourself to feel happiness. Allow remembrance and tears. Enjoy what you can, when you can, knowing grief will lessen with time and you will regain forward motion.
Grief doesn’t take a break during the holidays and you don’t have to force yourself to feel happiness.
Take Your Hospitality to Others
Hospitality doesn’t just involve inviting people to your home. Hospitality is about reaching out to those around you. Hospitality is a visit with those who rarely leave their homes or don’t have family nearby.
When I was a child, my father took boxes of fruit to the homes of our church staff members and fruit cake or a fruit basket to older church members who were unable to leave their homes. While the gift was appreciated, the visit is what gave the most joy.
With the busyness of the holidays, it’s easy to reason it would be more practical to visit in January, but those who are missing family members and nostalgic for years past are cheered by a visit.
Create New Traditions
Sometimes, we’re so tied to tradition we’re hesitant to do something different. But different can enhance the holidays. Consider an impromptu caroling outing with friends or a coffee shop visit with those you haven’t seen in a while. Share childhood memories or mention something for which you’d appreciate prayer.
Above all, remember hospitality doesn’t have to be perfect and elaborate. Enjoy casual fellowship and remember the true reason for the celebration. Your example of hospitality and kindness may thaw a hardened heart or inspire others to seek a deeper spiritual walk.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV).
Your example of hospitality and kindness may thaw a hardened heart or inspire others to seek a deeper spiritual walk.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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