“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” – Hebrews 13:2
A friend of ours from our time in Alabama just posted a message to me on Facebook. She said she remembered a sermon that I preached there that I called “Don’t Bonk!” I haven’t thought about that sermon in over 18 years! And she remembers it! Talk about encouraging – I don’t remember the title of my sermon from three weeks ago, and here she’s bringing one out of the archives.
That kind of encouragement is akin to the kind that arises when God’s people are hospitable to one another. Hospitality is the subject of my column this month. And, what an appropriate time for us to be challenged to be hospitable. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are times when families draw together, and at least for the day, they enjoy one another’s company and celebrate together.
Have you seen the Edeka German grocery store ad? It’s on You Tube (Christmas 2015). The ad opens with an old man carrying groceries inside and then hearing a voicemail from his daughter that her family can’t make it for Christmas this year. It shows him looking out the window at another old man being greeted by his grandchildren. It then shows the man alone at the dinner table eating a home-cooked meal, in three different outfits, suggesting it’s been at least that many years since he celebrated Christmas with his family. Wow…that’s a tough scene.
The three grown children then receive a note that their father has died. They tearfully leave their high-powered, metropolitan lives to return to their small town for the funeral. When they enter their father’s home they see a dining table fully set, candles aglow, and a decorated Christmas tree.
Their father emerges from the kitchen. “How else could I have brought you all together?” he asks, sadly. The commercial ends with them sitting around the table eating and laughing together. The tagline is: “It’s time to come home.”
I Peter 4:9 reminds us to “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” I Timothy 3:2 teaches us that hospitality is one of the qualifications for those who serve as elders in the church. All of us, however, are to love each other, and one very meaningful way to love this way is by having those who may be alone over the holidays to your home for a couple of hours.
Won’t you make it your aim to ask those who may be by themselves to have a meal and some fellowship together with you and your spouse or family? There are widows, singles, those without family in the local area, and others who are unable to join with their families this holiday season.
If you aren’t sold on the idea, google “Edeka Christmas commercial.” If you have a heart, that commercial will jump start you to look to spread the love of Christ in this powerful way. People won’t necessarily remember what you served for the meal when they came to your house, but they will remember you loved them enough to ask them over. Merry Christmas dear ones! –Pastor Daren