She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 2:7)
Children are inattentive housekeepers. In their innocence and delight, they wreak havoc on homes. Overcome with playfulness and wonder, toddlers excitedly trek mud on clean carpets; curious, burgeoning artists draw on walls; fledgling engineers pull ceiling fans out of place; clumsy teenage boys accidentally break door handles. My desire to be hospitable during and just after this “era of chaos” was at an all-time low. But, my children started bringing home friends who just wanted to talk and to have someone listen, kids who loved working alongside of me in the kitchen just to have companionship, teenagers who needed a second home away from home.
In today’s passage, two ill-equipped parties participated in hospitality: whoever offered the manger (and perhaps a stable or a cave), and the young couple who graciously received what was given to them. Here we see that the true spirit of hospitality is not one of one-upmanship or showmanship. We may be able to offer only a stable and a manger, but we should offer what we can.
Hospitality is not just for domestically gifted homemakers. The quiet and sacrificial gift of hospitality is the gateway to genuine community and sacrificial fellowship. We can participate in God’s redeeming plan for the world by offering what we have, appreciating what we have been given, and obediently (and quietly) participating in God’s redeeming plan.
Engage in the sacrificial act of hospitality.
Dalene Rovenstine Fisher is a wife and mother. She serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.