Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hospitality - What Does It Mean To You?

Hospitality: what does it mean to you?

I have heard that hospitality is opening our homes and meeting the needs of those who come in. Sometimes we want to provide extra-special attention in the form of food or beverage, chocolate mints on the pillows, hot cider simmering, fragrant candles burning, or a bowl of fruit on a bedside table.

But the most important ingredient in hospitality is the welcoming heart. It's that spirit that pulls guests from the front door to the dinner table, even if the only items on the menu are soup and bread. It's the genuine smile accompanying the words, "Make yourself at home!"

I am out-of-pocket this week, visiting my parents and my husband's parents (and a few other relatives). I am enjoying the opportunity to experience their hospitality. More than the fantastic food, though, I have appreciated the warm greetings, hugs, freshly made beds, and the freedom to relax in their homes.

So, what makes you feel comfortable in someone else's space?

If you plan to offer hospitality to others during this holiday season, you might begin by making a list of what you appreciate when you visit the homes of your friends and relatives. Is it the food? Decorations? Attitude? Cleanliness?

You might want to visit a historic home to learn about hospitality in former times and glean ideas to use in the present. (Read more about that, tomorrow!)

Involve your family in the preparations. If everyone has fun preparing, guests will sense the enthusiasm. This is where the butterfly effect comes into play. Your hospitality can have a direct effect on the well-being of those around you, with the possibility of far-reaching consequences.

We can also meet the needs of people in very unique ways.
  • Open your doors to those who have lost the use of their homes through fire, flood, tornado, storms, etc.
  • Host people from other nations who want to learn about our country through a foreign exchange program.
  • Accommodate visiting pastors, choirs, or school clubs. When we begin opening our homes for this type of service, we will never be lonely!

The house doesn't need to be perfect, nor do the inhabitants. Not enough chairs? Some people will be happy sitting on the floor.

It's the glow in the heart that people will remember most, the feeling of being appreciated and welcomed, the words, "We're glad you came!"

So, what does hospitality mean to you? I would love to see your comments.

Thanks for reading,



  1. I feel most at home at a host's house when I feel that I am not an inconvenience. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what contributes to feeling "in the way." I suppose that the host's attitudes are the root. I have stayed in small houses where people had to take turns in the bathroom and sleep on pallets, yet I felt very welcome. Other times, I have stayed with hosts who had whole floors unoccupied for my family's use, but I still felt awkward. I think it was more to do with how cheerfully the host was to adapt to the changes in their routine. Thank you for the wonderful post! Hospitality is so important! I am reminded of the verse that states "Some have entertained angels and have been unaware..." I wouldn't want to be a poor host to an angel! -Carissa B

    1. Thank you for that reminder. Making guests feel "at home" is a challenge faced by every host. And when we find that balance, I think we have found the way to offer true hospitality. :)

  2. Great thoughts! Especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner. I admit it's hard to not be a "Martha", so cumbered about with making sure the house is spotless, menu perfectly planned and then prepared. When I think about it I feel a little uncomfortable when I go to peoples house and find it perfect to the point of unnatural. I need to remind myself that our company has come to see us not a kids room with every toy perfectly organized. Who with kids has a toy room like that(but for the first 2 minutes after they've been organized?!

  3. Thank you for your comment; this is so true! When my kids were small, they followed me around when I cleaned, strewing toys behind us. So if I had one room clean at a time, I was doing very well! And you are right, we need to offer hospitality anyway. We make the place as tidy and germ-free as we can, and hope our guests view the toys as part of the charm. And if the house is too perfect, it looks sterile, and very few people are comfortable in a sterile environment. :)