A Reflection on Hospitality

December 12, 2023

In her book Making Room – Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, Christine D. Pohl makes the following observation:

“‘The most precious thing a human being has to give is time.’ Hospitality requires making time in our lives for others, yet many of us feel that time is our scarcest resource. Most of us are very busy; some of us are harried. Giving a person our attention requires that we stop and focus on them. This is a challenge in a society that celebrates the capacity to do several things simultaneously, and in which people often seem to take pride in being busy. As a wise Benedictine monk observed, ‘In a fast food culture, you have to remind yourself that some things cannot be done quickly. Hospitality takes time.’ To give someone else our full attention means that we view the person as a human being rather than as an embodied need or interruption” (p. 178).

Throughout the Christian narratives in the gospels, we see radical hospitality. Mary welcomes the news from Gabriel of the child to come. Elizabeth welcomes Mary to her home. Mary and Joseph welcome the shepherds to the stables, and then they welcome the wisemen.  

Even more radical is that the Savior of the universe leaves the riches of Heaven to live among us. Jesus physically walks where we walk. He makes himself available to everyone– the poor, the rich, the sick, the highly esteemed, and the outcasts.

The practice of hospitality applies the theological doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus made Himself known to us. Therefore, giving people our time is an extension of His presence.

The practice of hospitality applies the theological doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus made Himself known to us. Therefore, giving people our time is an extension of His presence. When you give someone your time, that is a sacred gift. Inviting someone to your home – your space – communicates that you see the image of God in them.  

Who will you give the gift of hospitality to this holiday season? Perhaps there’s a coworker who has nowhere to go during Christmas. Perhaps there’s a neighbor who could use a cup of coffee and a good conversation. There might be someone who sits all alone in church who God might prompt you to spend time with.  

Pray this week for an opportunity. Be watchful for who God might place on your heart to invite over. You may be amazed at what comes of your willingness to serve in this way!

About The Author

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