Giving and Receiving Hospitality

Hospitality at Home

Hospitality is an opportunity to help people feel welcome in your home. It spreads happiness when you smile, offer refreshments, and help people feel comfortable. Have you had anyone over recently?

There is an effect on you as well. I notice my husband and I feel uplifted as we prepare our home to be clean and orderly, as we did over this past week. Towels and sheets are fresh. Food is abundant. The porch is swept. We feel closely connected to each other as we invite others into our space for awhile. We also appreciate our own home better!

The people who come into our home vary from those we have never met to long-time friends and relatives. We all share stories of our lives that help us to build understanding and friendship. With new people, we look for points of connection. With people we already know, we fill in the gaps with news of what has happened since we were last together. Our world expands with hearing new viewpoints and learning about the choices others have made. We share ideas, feelings, and thoughts. A wise man once advised: “Make your home a haven of rest and peace. Be…hospitable and let the doors of your home be open to the faces of friends and strangers. Welcome everyone with a smiling face…. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Vol. 11, no. 1)

Our hope is always that people leave better than when they arrive through the experiences they share with us. We want them to learn something new, heal from a past experience, have a new adventure, or lighten up with laughter. We notice that our lives are better from their visits too. This weekend’s adventure was a boat ride downriver to a dam.

We also notice that the experience of being in our home is more enjoyable when we and our guests feel free to engage in service. As we together prepare food, set and clear the table, do the dishes, and more, we are participants in a mutual experience. Our guests are not passive recipients of us serving them. They benefit by being part of enhancing the overall quality of time we spend together. It’s also easier for us to relax when we are not trying to do everything, and conversation flows as we work together.

My husband and I can also tell that offering hospitality brings peace and happiness to our guests when they see positive interactions between us. As we demonstrate loving communication with each other, it inspires others to have loving relationships.

Sometimes it feels like it will be difficult to have guests, and we wonder if we can make time to offer hospitality. We think, “But we are so busy with work and other activities.” It can seem more like it will be a burden than a joy. However, consistently, when we set aside these concerns and offer hospitality, we are happy we made that choice. Relationships and friendships with others is a vital part of living a full life, and a vital part of marriage. We also look upon our home as a gift from God, and opening it to others shares that gift. Give yourself that gift too.

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