Hospitality seems unattainable right now. At least in a traditional sense. Inviting people into our homes and hosting parties are pretty big no-no's. If you are like me, it might make you feel like you lack purpose. Hosting in-home bible studies, fun festive parties, and packing people into my house brings me so much joy. Much like the nativity story, we have a hospitality issue, except in our house, there is a guest room available; it's just that no one can come to stay…
"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them." -Luke 2:6-7
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were not offered much in the way of sleeping arrangements. The extended familial host probably had other family members in town due to the census, yet he made room in the middle of the house right next to the animals. That may seem a little off-putting. Rude even. But he offered them what space he had and did what he could to make them comfortable.
The French scholar, Louis Chevalier de Jaucourt, who wrote much of the original encyclopedia, describes hospitality as:
the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity.
Wow! I had never heard of this guy, but I love his definition!
If I apply this to the family man who created space for Jesus, it's fits perfectly. He was a soul who tied all of humanity together with his simple act of hospitality. He cared for the first family with his actions rather than with his accommodations. Later, Jesus would speak to this type of caring.
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' -Matthew 25:40
So, in a time when we can't give much in the way of our homes, how can we show hospitality to people in our path? We care for them. We open our hearts to listen to their needs. We check in on people who might be lonely. We share our time and resources when we can. We love them with what we have because He loved us first.
December 1, 2020