My husband and I just celebrated our four year anniversary! We started out our marriage by traveling Europe for 3 months. Not only did we get to travel to 6 different countries, we also got to experience living in community with complete strangers everywhere we went. We witnessed firsthand the hospitality of people from other languages & cultures. We drank freshly made tangerine juice from a friend’s orchard in Spain, ate freshly made honey bread and homemade soups & stews in Switzerland, experienced the mild and unique flavor of roasted lamb at a table of strangers on the island of Iona in Scotland and drank tea everywhere! Our adventure in Europe inspired us for a lifetime of hospitality and homemaking. I will be writing more about our experience in Europe and our other travels individually to countries around the world where we have experienced hospitality in different ways and in different cultures.
Hospitality is not just something I learned while in Europe. I grew up learning hospitality from my mom! My mom wore many hats including that of pastor’s wife meaning we had a LOT of guests coming over to our home! Usually every Sunday we had new people from the church over for “noon meal” as we called it. Sometimes there would be 2 or 3 families, singles, newly married couples, people from all walks of life. My mom would prepare the meal the night before, have it cooking in the oven during church and then take care of the finishing touches when we got home. My sisters and I would help to set the table with the fine china, setting the forks and spoons in their proper order, lighting the candles, and making sure there were enough tea cups and saucers for dessert. It was beautiful! My mother has hosted hundreds of people over the years. Her willingness to work hard, create beauty and nourishing meals for strangers, and welcome them into our home… shows that she was really welcoming Christ and serving Him. Each soft spoken word of encouragement, each tissue given for tears that were cried, each warm burst of laughter and each hug goodbye displayed the welcoming embrace of Christ. This is the environment I was trained in, the place where I was taught, and the pattern I was given for hospitality.
I am bursting with stories, ideas, and inspiration for practicing the art of hospitality and what that truly means in our world. As I research and write on this topic, please know that I am also learning and growing in this gift and do not claim to have it all together! I am a work in progress and am honored to have had so many wonderful examples of hospitality in my life. Check back soon for more reflections on this theme that is so close to my heart.