I think food has a lot to do with a hospitable experience.
And the presentation of it.
You stay with a host who goes out of her way to create amazing meals, and then presents them on nice plates on a beautifully decorated table, and you just feel like you’re in the lap of luxury.
The abundance of good food really impacts how you feel about your stay. Plenty of food, plenty of options, always available . . . those things make you feel pampered and communicate that your host or hostess has thought ahead about your stay and planned everything just for you.
Maybe that’s the key to hospitality—the idea that someone has thought about your needs, anticipated them, and been proactive about meeting those needs before you even arrive.
Hospitality takes time and effort. No wonder it’s hard for many of us to pull off. Time is frequently in short supply, and because we’re often so busy keeping up with our own lives, we’re also tired.
A guest comes to town and we have to scrunch our calendar to make room for them, and muster up extra energy to be welcoming and go the extra mile in preparing their room, cleaning the house (!), meal planning, and cooking.
Culture and Society
It’s probably all a big reflection on our culture and our society.
When you stay with someone for a few days and experience true hospitality, though, it can be a great eye opener.
Our ability to really minister to someone else’s needs during the time of their stay can really change their life. We have the ability to make someone feel loved and cared for and welcomed in the big and small ways we treat them during their visit.
It’s always nice if our homes are gorgeous and we have beautiful back yards and lots of fresh flowers and stuff like that. That makes the guest feel like they’re in a private spa or something. But if we live in a simple house without great views and well-tended gardens, it’s ok. We can still create an environment of hospitality.
In Home Hosting
The family that is welcomed to your home even though it’s going to be a squeeze can still experience your hospitality in the ways you prepare for their visit.
Have you rounded up air mattresses and blankets and pillows? Created space in the bedroom for the mattresses on the floor for the kids? Gotten the mattresses pumped up before they have arrived?
Made sure the bathroom is clean for them, and enough towels hung up for the whole family?
Gotten muffins and yoghurt for their breakfast the next day, even if you have to run out the door early to work?
Did you leave them a note on the table with a spare key? Wrote down your schedule so they know when you’ll be back? Left instructions for getting the TV on? Made sure you’ve left the WIFI password so they can get all connected whenever they want?
All of those things are signs of hospitality and will make them feel welcome.
All those things communicate that they are important and you have anticipated their needs and you’re glad they are with you.
That’s hospitality too.