Friday, February 10, 2006
I've been enjoying a new book that I purchased this week. It's called Heavenly Hospitality and was written by Jo Ann Janssen. In it, she describes hospitality and how to share it with others. Although much consideration is given to the guest, she also gives ideas for creating ease for the hostess. I really like her core philosophy, which is that the key to being hospitable is grounded in loving others rather than owning and showing off an exquisite, perfectly decorated house. Being friendly, kind, and solicitous towards guests as well as being sensitive to those who are needy, initiating invitations, and reaching out to others who may not be able to return the hospitality back to you is the essence of true hospitality.
I'm reminded of one of my mother's friends. Lois had a heart for hospitality and expressed it by hostessing tea parties for groups as a community service. Churches, school districts, ladies groups, and service groups all benefited from her generosity. Without charge, she would plan and prepare tea parties for groups of 100 or more. She would provide the teacups, teapots, table linens, centerpieces, and tea. The group sponsoring the tea would provide sweet treats. Her husband graciously acted as butler for these teas, always wearing a handsome tuxedo and carrying a tea towel over his arm. He was always charming! What impressed me the most about Lois and her teas was that she always insisted that those whom others might forget be invited. The elderly, those handicapped or shut-in, gentlemen, weary mothers of small children. . .all were given special merit in invitation to her teas. Lois practiced hospitality, and the more she she reached out, the more comfortable she became in the role. I can still see her in my mind's eye, dressed in tea themed, print dress and white apron, telling about teacups and their story or sharing object lessons from a teapot. What a blessing she was to others!
Learning to savor the joys of hospitality --- not to impress, but to bless --- is what gracious hospitality is all about!
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:8-9