“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
After twenty-five years living in the same house in Dallas, a few years ago we decided to pack up and move out to the rapidly growing suburb of McKinney – new town, new home, new neighborhood. Soon after getting settled we realized we needed to get to know our new neighbors. So, being the Christmas holiday season, we planned a party for the neighborhood to see who might show up. After setting a date and time, we printed up some home-made invitations, placed them in our neighbors’ mailboxes, set out some food and drinks, turned on the porch light, and waited for the doorbell to ring. Sure enough it worked; for people came, some of whom have become good friends, others mere acquaintances, and a few we’ve hardly seen since, mostly because they moved away.
Not long ago we were attending a charity event at which we were seated at a table with a group of strangers. In the course of the conversation with the couple sitting next to us we discovered that they had once lived in the next block on our same street but had moved away because their family needed a larger house. But they had loved our neighborhood, raving about what a great place it was to live and how they had hated to leave. “Remember,” we heard them say, looking at each other, not at us, “when those nice new people moved in down the street and invited everyone to that big Christmas party in their home? That was so much fun!” Now, if they seemed startled when we told them that was us, we were even more startled that our little gathering had been so memorable.
Hospitality is nothing more than making other people feel comfortable and at home. But some are afraid their home is not large enough or nice enough to entertain others. My grandmother would have begged to differ; for while her house may have been small and modest, she seemed to always have a steady stream of people visiting in her tiny living room where she would graciously serve her guests freshly baked cookies or a slice of cake right out of the oven along with steaming hot coffee poured into her best china cups.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Or by doing so we might be deepening a friendship, lifting someone’s spirits, or creating a pleasant memory for someone we never met before.