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"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:13

"Show hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:9

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

This is the time of the year when the focus shifts and we ramp up for the coming holiday season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon some of us will travel; enjoying the welcome of others and some of us will host family or other visitors into our home. The emphasis is often on entertaining rather than serving. We strive for the perfect tableau, copying the impossible Pinterest tablescapes — the right china, the perfect place setting, and whimsical unique place cards. Now there is a time and place for formality but it need not be present to make someone a grace filled welcome. In fact some of the most comfortable gatherings are the most casual. 

"If welcome is so fundamental to the nature of God, hospitality is one practice for growing into our likeness of and desire for him. As we invite people into our homes [and our lives], we assume the role of father and reenact the divine love we ourselves have received." — Jen Pollock Michel, Hospitality, Sacrifice, and Delight in God

The holiday season offers many opportunities to reach out and include someone new — to gladly receive, to offer love and friendship, to reflect Christ, to share ourself, to open our heart.

Invite someone new to your annual cookie or gift exchange or to your holiday feast. Many people who are unchurched, dechurched, or not believers may not accept an invitation to attend church but will gladly come into your home.

Lay aside the panic and fear of seeing your home through a visitor's eyes. Open your arms and your mission field to bless someone new this holiday season! Don't miss out on the possibility of community.

Additional resources: Hospitality: Creating a Grace-Filled Welcome, The Gospel Coalition 2014 Women's Conference