Twice in the past two weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of hospitality and community.
The irony is I’m nine months pregnant. Not exactly the timing I would pick for this lesson, but maybe that’s part of the point.
Last week, we had family in town for Christmas. With me being two weeks from having a baby, I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of a family of five staying with us, with my due date so close.
But our time was really wonderful. Our kids played well and we made amazing memories. They left Saturday, and I thought about how glad I was that we flung our door open wide, blew up air mattresses and made everything work.
Sunday, I had plans to take it easy, maybe do a few loads of laundry, some writing, and work on my forthcoming book release.
But then, I got a text from a blogging friend who was unexpectedly in town with her family (who I had never met) asking if we wanted to get together for lunch.
“Yes” was the only option. Though I was physically still pretty worn out from the previous week’s company, I knew that seeing them would be such a gift.
Instead of going out to lunch, which I knew would be tough, not be as relaxing or as fun for our six kids, I invited them over to our house. I warned them that the state of my house was chaos, but that as long as that was okay, we would love to have them over.
Why do we so often over-compensate for the state of our homes?
Of course they didn’t care about our house. They didn’t want to come over to see a dust-free mantle or a spotless living room.
We spent more than two hours together and our time was rich with conversation. We kept lunch simple — just cold cuts, fruit, and chips. The kids played and everyone enjoyed one another’s company.
When they left, I was again reminded that hospitality is not about the condition of our homes, but the condition of our hearts.
Hospitality is about saying yes.
Hospitality is about honesty.
Hospitality is not about perfection.
Hospitality is not about fancy food and linens.
And so, with birth just around the corner for me, and a new year for us all, I am thinking about hospitality in 2015. Life can be so busy; it can be easy to miss out on opportunities to demonstrate hospitality.
But let’s not miss those chances.
My prayer is that I will be a woman who always flings my door open wide and invites others in, no matter the condition of my home or craziness of life.
Because community matters more than my floors.