One year ago, my husband and I launched a young adults’ life group for our church. I spent the entire day preparing. I tidied every inch of our house and polished the floors—by far my least favorite chore.
I unpacked every charcuterie board (it turns out that I have quite a few) and carefully arranged enough cheeses and meats to feed a small army.
I set apple cider on to simmer and sent Billy to the store at least once to pick up extra cups.
It was a wonderful evening, and we were cheered to see our living room packed with young adults. Channeling the spirit of my new Italian last name, I forced second helpings on everyone and left no cup half empty.
After everyone departed, I collapsed, exhausted but satisfied. Surely, I was developing the gift of hospitality!
My efforts that evening arose from my desire to make our guests feel welcome. I realize now, though, that hospitality is just as much of a gift when it is simple and unassuming. A few months later, as our friendships grew, I stopped trying so hard. My work grew busier and I didn’t have time to arrange cheese trays. Instead, Billy tossed some Sam’s Club chicken nuggets on the pizza cooker and we deemed it good enough.
The nuggets were a hit. They surpassed my beautiful charcuterie trays and became a life group favorite.
It turns out, most people aren’t looking for five-star service when they go to someone’s home. In the Church, hospitality is a gift, not an industry. Hospitality can certainly be shown through extravagant events and well-prepared meals. (I’ve eaten enough fabulous Midwestern dinners to affirm this!) However, there’s something refreshing about inviting other people into our normal lives—not our immaculately tidy, farmhouse chic lives, but our messy-bun, cat-toys-on-the-floor, frozen-nugget lives.
I never thought I’d have the gift of hospitality because I detest event planning. I stopped having birthday parties as a kid because it was too much pressure and putting together that first young adults’ night wiped me out.
But if hospitality can also be inviting others over to play music, have a cup of tea, clean the gutters, impulsively cut bangs, or simply exist together on a free afternoon—well, that I can handle.
If hospitality, at its core, is inviting others to share in our daily lives and bread (or nuggets), then that’s a gift I will readily give.
This is beautiful! Some of my favorite childhood memories were spontaneous invitations to friends after evening church for canned peaches and Graham crackers. It was the fellowship that was important. 😊
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