I've been learning a lot recently about hospitality. My friend Lindsey and I often joke about how we are not "pin-able." We don't post DIY projects or have home tours on our blogs. We work with words, and at the end of the day, we just pray that the dishes get done. Last week, I had to wash the same load of laundry three times because I had let it sour -- and don't even get me started on the ring around the bath tub, because it seems to be here to stay. We have this idea that in order to be hospitable, everything must be perfect. There must be garland and a gallery wall and the aroma of fresh baked goods. We think that we must be perfect. But I'm discovering that it really doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
I look around my sweet friend Amy's home. Two decades worth of marriage and babies, one of which has been spent nestled in our sleepy north Georgia mountains. Tonight she has stoked the fire and opened her doors to a group of women for the second time. There is red velvet cake on the island in the kitchen, and the kettle whistles anxiously. I watch and listen as Amy speaks, her voice dripping with sweet grace, and I can't help but feel a sense of peace whenever I'm around her. I can feel her warmth, her joy, radiating from across the room.
And at one point, I gather up my courage and ask, so you just decided to do this for all of us? Her eyes sparkle. "Yes." She tells me that she loves having people in her home, and that if she had her way, she would never leave.
What I've realized is that true hospitality isn't about how many times your home tour will be pinned. It isn't even about red velvet cake (although, we could probably make a pretty compelling argument for this one).
Hospitality is creating space for people to come as they are.
Over coffee and crafts, Amy tells me that she still struggles with wanting to be all the things. Lindsey chimes in about the inevitable disappointment that takes over when she is overlooked for something -- even when it comes to the things she knows she doesn't have time to do. Leaning into the moment, I said that it must be God's grace that we are not chosen to do all the things.
It was His mercy, His loving-kindness, that sent Christ to hit the mark in our stead -- and yet even the physical person of Jesus did not heal every sick person. Sometimes He simply gives us strength to bear our crosses with grace.
He invites us to come as we are and and find rest for our weary and busted up souls.
With the coming of December, we've entered the season of advent. The word advent simply means the arrival. As we anticipate His coming, our hearts are heavy. We yearn for the day when every tear will be wiped away. We have learned to survive in a culture of scarcity. We live every man for himself, slaving away to build the tallest towers. We try to do enough to make enough to be enough. We want to be all the things.
And Christ offers us rest. He offers an invitation to cease striving. He offers us a life of that which we were made for. All of Him is more than enough for all of us.
That, my friends, is revolutionary.
Some dear friends of mine made this for you, and I'd love to send it to you, all wrapped up in time for Christmas.